Can I use this expression in the sense of 'sorted in ascending order'? The context is programming: sorting a data-structure or results of a query.

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    20 years of database work - never heard it used that way and frankly would find it odd to hear. "An ascending sort" or "sorted in ascending order" are the phrases I would expect to hear, and in technical documents - go for clarity over brevity every time. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 19:39
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    Sorted ascendingly sounds perfectly comprehensible, idiomatic, and fine to me.
    – WS2
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 0:16
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    @WS2 It sounds like you're alphabetizing a list while you walk up a staircase.
    – deadrat
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 0:38
  • "ascendingly" isn't in Merriam-Webster or Lexico, so I'd be cautious about using it in formal documents. That said, people would understand it (perhaps after a moment's thought).
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


It may technically be an acceptable adverb formation, but it is terribly uncomfortable. I would stick with "sorted in ascending order", as it would be readily understood by a larger audience than "ascendingly". Use of "ascendingly" would likely cause unnecessary confusion in your target audience: i.e. "What did they just say?". This would distract from your message.

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