descend

verb
de·​scend | \ di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio) , dē- \
descended; descending; descends

Definition of descend

intransitive verb

1 : to pass from a higher place or level to a lower one descended from the platform
2 : to pass in discussion from what is logically prior or more comprehensive descends from the general to the specific
3a : to originate or come from an ancestral stock or source : derive descends from an old merchant family
b : to pass by inheritance a desk that has descended in the family
c : to pass by transmission songs descended from old ballads
4a : to incline, lead, or extend downward the road descends to the river
b physiology : to conduct nerve impulses away from the brain … lesions that interrupt the descending pathways from the cortex or brain stem produce weakness in voluntary movements …— Claude Ghez and John Krakauer
5a : to swoop or pounce down (as in a sudden attack) a hawk descending upon its prey
b : to appear suddenly and often disconcertingly as if from above reporters descended on the candidate
6 : to proceed in a sequence or gradation from higher to lower or from more remote to nearer or more recent Their scores were listed in descending order.
7a : to lower oneself in status or dignity : stoop
b : to worsen and sink in condition or estimation He descended into a deep depression. descended to poverty descend into chaos
c : to pass from higher to lower musical notes The harmony descends chromatically.

transitive verb

1 : to pass, move, or climb down or down along descending the staircase
2 : to extend down along a narrow scar descended her arm

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Other Words from descend

descendible \ di-​ˈsen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce descendible (audio) , dē-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for descend

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Examples of descend in a Sentence

Wait for the elevator to descend. The workers descended into the hole. A herd of goats descended into the valley. The airplane will descend to a lower altitude soon. Descending the mountain was even more dangerous than climbing it. The children descended the staircase silently. The path descends to the river. The stairs descended into the tunnel.
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Recent Examples on the Web Throughout the night, a swarm of locusts descended on the game, buzzing around the players and getting buried beneath the snow. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Novelty of outdoor games does not wear thin with Kings," 14 Feb. 2020 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel The temperature is forecast to drop below zero in southeast Wisconsin overnight Thursday, as some of the coldest air of the season descends on the region, according to the National Weather Service. Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Sunday's intense snow to be followed by coldest temperatures of the season by end of the week," 10 Feb. 2020 First, there’s an air of canonical dignity that hasn’t exactly been earned but has irresistibly descended. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The In-Your-Face Paintings of Peter Saul," 10 Feb. 2020 Kesha previously clocked top 10s with Rainbow (No. 1 in 2017), Warrior (No. 6, 2012) and Animal (No. 1, 2010). Halsey’s Manic descends four spots to No. 8 with 43,000 equivalent album units earned (down 23%). Keith Caulfield, Billboard, "Lil Wayne Achieves Fifth No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart With 'Funeral'," 9 Feb. 2020 However, for unknown reasons, the helicopter took a diving left turn at about 184 miles per hour and descended at a rate of more than 4,000 feet a minute shortly before striking the Santa Monica Mountains at 9:45 a.m., the NTSB said. NBC News, "No signs of engine failure in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash," 7 Feb. 2020 The Lion Air flight climbed, struggled to maintain altitude, then descended. USA Today, "What’s next for the 737 MAX – and Boeing," 6 Feb. 2020 But even as Hollywood descends on Park City, there's still a strange clarity to the oxygen. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "The best movies that came out of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival," 5 Feb. 2020 In October, he was briefly detained by Mexican soldiers before the cartel swiftly descended on Culiacan, and in an enormous show of strength, overpowered the military, securing his release. Fox News, "El Chapo's daughter marries cartel insider in private Mass, locking down Mexican cathedral," 4 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'descend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of descend

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3b

History and Etymology for descend

Middle English, from Anglo-French descendre, from Latin descendere, from de- + scandere to climb — more at scan

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Time Traveler for descend

Time Traveler

The first known use of descend was in the 14th century

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Statistics for descend

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Descend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/descend. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for descend

descend

verb
How to pronounce descend (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of descend

formal
: to go down : to go or move from a higher to a lower place or level
: to slope or lead downward
: to go or change to a worse state or condition

descend

verb
de·​scend | \ di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio) \
descended; descending

Kids Definition of descend

1 : to come or go down from a higher place or level to a lower one The elevator descended.
2 : to move down or down along Descending the cliff was dangerous.
3 : to slope or lead downward The road descends to the valley.
4 : to come down from an earlier time The custom descends from ancient times.
5 : to come down from a source or ancestor : derive Many words descend from Latin.
6 : to be handed down to an heir
7 : to arrive from or as if from the sky Locusts descended on the crops. Holiday shoppers descended on the mall.
8 : to sink in dignity or respectability : stoop I never thought they would descend to cheating.
9 : to sink to a worse condition The classroom descended into chaos.
de·​scend | \ di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio) \

Medical Definition of descend

: to pass from a higher place or level to a lower one normally the testicle descends into the scrotum between the seventh and ninth month in uteroTherapeutic Notes

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de·​scend | \ di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio) \

Legal Definition of descend

: to pass by inheritance

Other Words from descend

descendibility \ -​ˌsen-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
descendible \ -​ˈsen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce descendible (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on descend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for descend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with descend

Spanish Central: Translation of descend

Nglish: Translation of descend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of descend for Arabic Speakers

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