To ascend is to move or travel upwards. You can do this literally, like when you ascend to 35,000 feet after your plane takes off, or figuratively, like when you win the lottery and ascend to a higher social class.

Riding the escalators in the department store is one way to amuse yourself while your parents shop. You can ascend all the way to the 8th floor, and then descend back to the ground floor. Both ascend and descend come from the Latin verb scandere, which means "to climb." It's the prefixes that make all the difference. The a- of ascend makes the word mean "climb up," while the de- of its antonym makes descend mean "climb down."

Definitions of ascend

v travel up, "We ascended the mountain"

“The mountaineers slowly ascended the steep slope”
go up
come down, descend, fall, go down
move downward and lower, but not necessarily all the way
show 6 types...
hide 6 types...
come up, rise, rise up, surface
come to the surface
ascend as a sound
come up to the surface of or rise
reappear on the surface
bubble up, intumesce
move upwards in bubbles, as from the effect of heating; also used metaphorically
swell, well
come up, as of a liquid
Type of:
go, locomote, move, travel
change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically

v appear to be moving upward, as by means of tendrils

climb up

v go along towards (a river's) source

“The boat ascended the Delaware”
Type of:
follow, travel along
travel along a certain course

v slope upwards

“The path ascended to the top of the hill”
Type of:
incline, pitch, slope
be at an angle

v come up, of celestial bodies

“Jupiter ascends
come up, rise, uprise
go down, go under, set
disappear beyond the horizon
Type of:
arise, come up, go up, lift, move up, rise, uprise
move upward

v move to a better position in life or to a better job

“She ascended from a life of poverty to one of great”
move up, rise
Type of:
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

v become king or queen

“She ascended to the throne after the King's death”
Type of:
accede, enter
take on duties or office

v go back in order of genealogical succession

“Inheritance may not ascend linearly”
Type of:
date back, date from, go back
belong to an earlier time

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.