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.
  3. predominant; main; major; chief: Corn is the dominant crop of Iowa.
  4. Genetics. of or relating to a dominant.
  5. Music. pertaining to or based on the dominant: the dominant chord.


  1. Genetics.
    1. 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.
    2. the trait or character determined by such an allele.Compare recessive(defs 4, 5).
  2. Music. the fifth tone of a diatonic scale.
  3. 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.


  1. having primary control, authority, or influence; governing; ruling
  2. predominant or primarythe dominant topic of the day
  3. occupying a commanding position
  4. genetics
    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)

  5. music of or relating to the fifth degree of a scale
  6. 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
    1. a dominant allele or character
    2. an organism having such an allele or character
  2. music
    1. the fifth degree of a scale and the second in importance after the tonic
    2. a key or chord based on this
  3. ecology a dominant plant or animal in a community

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.


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


  1. A dominant allele or trait.
  2. An organism having a dominant trait.

  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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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