Origin of dominant

1525–35; < Latin dominant- (stem of domināns, present participle of dominārī to dominate), equivalent to domin(us) master + -ant- -ant
Related formsdom·i·nant·ly, adverbnon·dom·i·nant, adjective, noun
Can be confuseddominant dominate domineer

Synonyms for dominant

Synonym study

1. Dominant, predominant, paramount, preeminent describe something outstanding. Dominant describes something that is most influential or important: the dominant characteristics of monkeys. Predominant describes something that is dominant over all others, or is more widely prevalent: Curiosity is the predominant characteristic of monkeys. Paramount applies to something that is first in rank or order: Safety is of paramount importance. Preeminent applies to a prominence based on recognition of excellence: His work was of preeminent quality. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dominant

Contemporary Examples of dominant

Historical Examples of dominant

  • In spite of his youth he was unquestionably the dominant spirit here.

  • I have said that the dominant thinking of our age is materialistic, and by that I mean also physical.

  • Cassidy struggled with all his pride against the dominant fury this man hurled on him.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The old fascination was still as dominant as at its birth, sixteen years ago.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Of the two, his miserable little accuser was the dominant figure.

    The Avenger

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

British Dictionary definitions for dominant



having primary control, authority, or influence; governing; ruling
predominant or primarythe dominant topic of the day
occupying a commanding position
  1. (of an allele) producing the same phenotype in the organism irrespective of whether the allele of the same gene is identical or dissimilar
  2. (of a character) controlled by such a gene
Compare recessive (def. 2)
music of or relating to the fifth degree of a scale
ecology (of a plant or animal species within a community) more prevalent than any other species and determining the appearance and composition of the community


  1. a dominant allele or character
  2. an organism having such an allele or character
  1. the fifth degree of a scale and the second in importance after the tonic
  2. a key or chord based on this
ecology a dominant plant or animal in a community
Derived Formsdominantly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for dominant

mid-15c., from Middle French dominant (13c.), from Latin dominantem (nominative dominans), present participle of dominari (see domination). Music sense is from 1819. Sexual bondage sense by c.1960. The noun is first recorded 1819, earliest in the musical sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dominant in Medicine




Exercising the most influence or control.
Of, relating to, or being an allele that produces the same phenotypic effect whether inherited with a homozygous or heterozygous allele.


A dominant allele or trait.
An organism having a dominant trait.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

dominant in Science



Relating to the form of a gene that expresses a trait, such as hair color, in an individual organism. The dominant form of a gene overpowers the counterpart, or recessive, form located on the other of a pair of chromosomes.
Relating to the trait expressed by such a gene. See more at inheritance. Compare recessive.
Being a species that has the greatest effect within its ecological community, especially by determining the presence, abundance, or type of other species. As a plant community progresses through stages of succession, different species may become dominant for a period until the climax community is reached, at which point the dominant species remains stable until a major disruption occurs. Among animals, the dominant species in a community is generally the top predator or the most abundant or widespread species.
Being an animal that occupies the highest position in a social hierarchy and has the greatest access to resources such as food and a mate or mates. Social dominance is gained and maintained through factors such as size and aggressiveness.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.