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 Investigators from Birmingham, Trussville, and Hueytown police, Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies and the Metro Area Crime Center descended upon a residential area on Chapel Drive at Love Street Thursday evening. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Multi-agency police investigation underway in Hueytown neighborhood," 3 Jan. 2020 The Wings celebrated former players as their amazing success was recognized, and focused on new ones as meager times descended. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Top 10 Detroit Red Wings moments of decade: Goodbye Mr. Hockey, hello Captain," 29 Dec. 2019 New research from Kings College London analyzed the amount of microplastics descending onto the roof of a nine-story building in London’s city center, The Guardian reported. Marc Bain, Quartz, "Clothing could be to blame for the number of microplastics in our air," 28 Dec. 2019 Crested Butte: Gather at Butte 66 at 5:30 p.m. to watch Crested Butte instructors descend the mountain in a torchlight parade, followed by fireworks. John Meyer, The Know, "From a celebrity toast to fireworks, here’s how Colorado ski areas are celebrating New Year’s Eve," 22 Dec. 2019 So here are the 25 most hacker-prone passwords, in descending order from worst to slightly less worse. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "These Are the 25 Worst Passwords of 2019. Let's Do Better Next Year.," 20 Dec. 2019 But like a descending flight, the future will arrive soon enough. Dan Catchpole, Fortune, "Gate-Checked Again? Here’s Why There’s No Room for Your Carry-On Bags in the Overhead Bin," 19 Dec. 2019 Points were given in descending order, so an athlete who was voted No. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Michael Phelps, James Harden, Larry Fitzgerald among Arizona ties on top athletes list," 19 Dec. 2019 In 1917, during World War I, a train carrying some 1,000 French troops from the Italian front derailed while descending a steep hill in Modane; at least half of the soldiers were killed in France’s greatest rail disaster. BostonGlobe.com, "In 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the US Constitution.," 13 Dec. 2019

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

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Descend.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/descend. Accessed 23 January 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

Comments on descend

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