[ dom-uh-nuhnt ]
See synonyms for: dominantdominantly on

  1. ruling, governing, or controlling; having or exerting authority or influence: dominant in the chain of command.

  2. occupying or being in a commanding or elevated position.

  1. predominant; main; major; chief: Corn is the dominant crop of Iowa.

  2. Genetics. of or relating to a dominant.

  3. Music. pertaining to or based on the dominant: the dominant chord.

  1. Genetics.

    • the one of a pair of alternative alleles that masks the effect of the other when both are present in the same cell or organism.

    • the trait or character determined by such an allele.: Compare recessive (defs. 4, 5).

  2. Also called, Informal, dom . the participant in a BDSM sexual encounter or relationship to whom power and control are transferred.: See also dominatrix (def. 1), domme.

  1. Music. the fifth tone of a diatonic scale.

  2. Ecology. any of one or more types of plants, or sometimes animals, that by virtue of abundance, size, or habits exert so important an influence on the conditions of an area as to determine, to a great extent, what other organisms can live there.

Origin of dominant

First recorded in 1525–35; from Latin dominant- (stem of domināns, present participle of dominārī “to be lord and master, domineer”; see dominate), equivalent to domin(us) “master, possessor, ruler” + -ant- -ant

synonym study For dominant

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.

Other words for dominant

Other words from dominant

  • dom·i·nant·ly, adverb
  • non·dom·i·nant, adjective, noun

Words that may be confused with dominant

Words Nearby dominant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dominant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dominant


/ (ˈdɒmɪnənt) /

  1. having primary control, authority, or influence; governing; ruling

  2. predominant or primary: the dominant topic of the day

  1. occupying a commanding position

  2. genetics : Compare recessive (def. 2)

    • (of an allele) producing the same phenotype in the organism irrespective of whether the allele of the same gene is identical or dissimilar

    • (of a character) controlled by such a gene

  3. music of or relating to the fifth degree of a scale

  4. 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. genetics

    • a dominant allele or character

    • an organism having such an allele or character

  2. music

    • the fifth degree of a scale and the second in importance after the tonic

    • a key or chord based on this

  1. ecology a dominant plant or animal in a community

Derived forms of dominant

  • dominantly, 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

Scientific definitions for dominant


[ dŏmə-nənt ]

  1. 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.

  2. Relating to the trait expressed by such a gene. See more at inheritance. Compare recessive.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.