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late 14c., ascendent, astrological use is earliest, from Middle French ascendant (noun and adjective) and directly from Latin ascendentem (nominative ascendans), present participle of ascendere "to mount, ascend, go up" (see ascend). Sense "moving upward, rising" is recorded from 1590s. In the ascendant "ruling, dominant" (not, as is often thought, "rising") is from 1670s.