The Meaning of Dominate: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of dominate? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word dominate, including its definition, etymology, usage, example uses, and more!

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What does the word dominate mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and Dictionary, the word dominate (pronunciation: ˈdɒmɪneɪt) is a verb that means to rule, control, or assert a guiding influence on. Many different suffixes can be added onto the word dominate, including ed to make dominated and tor to make dominator, as well as ing to make dominating. An important person who dominates might be in a commanding position in a neighborhood. This person might exercise control over others. If a couple struggles with finances, money reigns or dominates over the ​couple’s happiness. Emperors in the ancient Roman Empire dominated other lands in the later phrase of imperial government compared to the earlier period – and had a tendency to pillage. Certain genetics might have a dominant gene appear over other recessive genes. A future NFL player might dominate over other competitors or strong forces in a high school football league. The word dominate is very versatile and can be used in numerous ways in casual English and proper English. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean dominate. You may notice that some of these words look very similar to the word dominate. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases that look and sound similar between languages while also having a similar meaning. These are often formed when two words have the same language of origin like Latin or Greek or root word. This list of translations for the word dominate is provided by Word Sense

  •  French: dominer‎
  •  Czech: dominovat‎
  •  Arabic: سَيْطَرَ‎
  •  Spanish: dominar‎
  •  Italian: dominare‎
  •  Portuguese: dominar‎
  •  Finnish: vallita‎
  •  Korean: 지배하다‎
  •  Greek: δεσπόζω‎
  •  Romanian: domina‎
  •  Catalan: dominar‎
  •  Japanese: 治める‎ (osameru), 統べる‎ (suberu), 支配‎
  •  Swedish: dominera‎
  •  Slovene: vladati‎
  •  German: dominieren‎
  •  Polish: dominować‎, przewyższać‎
  •  Bulgarian: господствам‎, преобладавам‎
  •  Turkish: hükmetmek‎
  •  Ido: dominacar‎
  •  Russian: госпо́дствовать‎, преоблада́ть‎, домини́ровать‎
  •  Esperanto: domini‎

What is the origin of the word dominate?

According to Etymonline, the word dominate has been used as a transitive verb since the 1610s. This is a back-formation from the word domination and the Latin ​dominātus, the past participle of the Latin dominārī meaning to rule, dominate, or govern. This comes from the Latin dominus meaning lord or master, from the Latin domus meaning house. This is of Proto-Indo-European roots; specifically, the root dem meaning house or household. This word has been used to mean to have influence over by 1818. It has been used as an intransitive verb since 1816. Related words include dominated and dominating, as well as dominion (n.). 

How can the word dominate be used in a sentence?

The word dominate can be used in many different circumstances and situations. Notice how it is used in the following dialogs.

The football team felt that they would dominate their cross-town rivals – little did they know, the other team was practicing five hours a day. 

Elissa knew she would dominate in the mock trial tournament.

Human determination will dominate over anything that stands in their way.

The bureaucrats dominated over the private sector. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word dominate?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word dominate. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful set of tools to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself or if you are looking to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word dominate is provided by Thesaurus

  •  overtop
  •  prevail over
  •  bestride
  •  run the show
  •  subject
  •  govern
  •  direct
  •  dictate
  •  tyrannize
  •  overlie
  •  hold sway over
  •  rule the roost
  •  predominate
  •  influence
  •  stand over
  •  control
  •  principate
  •  react
  •  eclipse
  •  lead by the nose
  •  sit on top of
  •  reign
  •  domineer
  •  overbear
  •  manage
  •  monopolize
  •  loom over
  •  look down upon
  •  prevail
  •  survey
  •  handle
  •  overshadow
  •  outshine
  •  rule
  •  call the shots
  •  have one’s way
  •  detract from
  •  sway
  •  head
  •  keep under thumb
  •  overlook
  •  boss
  •  lay down the law
  •  subjugate
  •  overrule
  •  superabound
  •  command
  •  preponderate
  •  lead
  •  run
  •  have upper hand
  •  play first fiddle

There are also a plethora of words that have the opposite meaning as the word dominate. These opposite words are known as antonyms, which are another quick and easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. THis list of antonyms for the word dominate is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  entrust
  •  cry uncle
  •  give in
  •  capitulate
  •  submit
  •  quit
  •  lay down arms
  •  yield
  •  cede
  •  commit
  •  relinquish
  •  bow
  •  acknowledge
  •  appease
  •  eat crow
  •  throw in the towel
  •  fall
  •  fold
  •  resign oneself
  •  knuckle under
  •  go along with
  •  give way
  •  knuckle
  •  indulge
  •  be submissive
  •  consign
  •  leave
  •  waive
  •  buckle
  •  put up with
  •  defer
  •  truckle
  •  bend
  •  put up white flag
  •  buckle under
  •  relent
  •  agree
  •  deliver up
  •  withstand
  •  surrender
  •  eat humble pie
  •  give away
  •  part with
  •  concede
  •  forego
  •  hand over
  •  go down
  •  abandon
  •  tolerate
  •  pack it in
  •  cave in
  •  say uncle
  •  succumb
  •  go under
  •  renounce
  •  accede
  •  cave
  •  stoop
  •  grin and bear it
  •  go with the flow
  •  acquiesce
  •  obey
  •  give ground
  •  toe the line
  •  roll over
  •  let go
  •  toss it in
  •  play dead
  •  abide
  •  kowtow
  •  humor

Overall, the word dominate means to rule over or have supreme influence over. This word comes from the Latin ​​​past participle of dominari as well as the Latin dominat. This word can be used to describe many things, from for rainy weather might dominate Oregon and Washington to how successful leaders in a tetrarchy might dominate their native land. Right wing politics might dominate a certain region, while left-wing mindset might dominate others.


  1. DOMINATE Synonyms: 64 Synonyms & Antonyms for DOMINATE | Thesaurus 
  2. SURRENDER Synonyms: 71 Synonyms & Antonyms for SURRENDER | Thesaurus 
  3. dominate: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  4. Origin and meaning of dominate | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Definition of Dominate | Merriam-Webster 
  6. Definition of Dominate |