When you assume ascendancy over someone else, you become more powerful than they are. Ascendancy is the state of being in a higher position.

If you look at ascendancy, you see the word, ascend, which means to go up. Ascendancy is not so much about going up, but about being up. Another word for it is dominance, especially in the context of foreign or domestic relations. In school, if you question a teacher's ascendancy, you might be told to go to the principal's office. In this case, you're challenging the teacher's authority.

Definitions of ascendancy
  1. noun
    the state that exists when one person or group has power over another
    synonyms: ascendance, ascendence, ascendency, control, dominance
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    ascendant, ascendent
    position or state of being dominant or in control
    domination, mastery, supremacy
    power to dominate or defeat
    predominance, predomination, prepotency
    the state of being predominant over others
    dominion, rule
    dominance or power through legal authority
    the state of being controlled or governed
    absolutism, despotism, tyranny
    dominance through threat of punishment and violence
    exclusive control or possession of something
    superiority, transcendence, transcendency
    the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits
    the state of being paramount; the highest rank or authority
    British dominion over India (1757-1947)
    reign, sovereignty
    royal authority; the dominion of a monarch
    the position or authority of a suzerain
    type of:
    condition, status
    a state at a particular time
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