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noun de·scent \di-ˈsent\

Definition of descent

  1. 1 a :  derivation from an ancestor :  birth, lineage <of French descent> b :  transmission or devolution of an estate by inheritance usually in the descending line c :  the fact or process of originating from an ancestral stock d :  the shaping or development in nature and character by transmission from a source :  derivation

  2. 2 :  the act or process of descending

  3. 3 :  a step downward in a scale of gradation; specifically :  one generation in an ancestral line or genealogical scale

  4. 4 a :  an inclination downward :  slope b :  a descending way (as a downgrade or stairway) c obsolete :  the lowest part

  5. 5 a :  attack, invasion b :  a sudden disconcerting appearance (as for a visit)

  6. 6 :  a downward step (as in station or value) :  decline <descent of the family to actual poverty>

Examples of descent in a sentence

  1. The book describes his descent into a deep depression after the death of his wife.

  2. her slow descent to a life of addiction

  3. The only path that goes down to the river is a rather steep descent, so be careful.

Origin and Etymology of descent

Middle English, from Anglo-French descente, from Anglo-French descendre

First Known Use: 14th century

DESCENT Defined for Kids


noun de·scent \di-ˈsent\

Definition of descent for Students

  1. 1 :  an act of coming or going down in location or condition <The plane began its descent.>

  2. 2 :  a downward slope <a steep descent>

  3. 3 :  a person's ancestors <She is of Korean descent.>

Medical Dictionary


noun de·scent \di-ˈsent\

Medical Definition of descent

  1. 1:  the act or process of descending from a higher to a lower location <descent of the testes into the scrotum>

  2. 2a:  derivation from an ancestorb:  the fact or process of originating by generation from an ancestral stock (as a species or genus)

  3. 3:  a former method of distillation in which the material was heated in a vessel having its outlet underneath so that the vapors produced were forced to descend

Law Dictionary


noun de·scent

Legal Definition of descent

  1. :  transmission or devolution of the estate of a person who has died without a valid will — compare distribution

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up descent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a jerking and twitching of the body

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