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 Colorful tiered gardens descend down the hillside, leading to a bright red British-style phone booth tucked at the edge of the property. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property: Lakers legend Derek Fisher lists home court in Tarzana," 14 Nov. 2020 Demonstrations in support of President Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the presidential election will descend on downtown Washington this weekend. Washington Post, "Far-right protesters, counterdemonstrators plan to gather Saturday in D.C. amid pro-Trump rallies," 12 Nov. 2020 Saulnier plays up the claustrophobia of the location as the savage skinheads descend on his protagonists, building tension and suspense sequences with skill and ingenuity. Jason Bailey, New York Times, "Stream These 15 Titles Before They Leave Netflix in November," 11 Nov. 2020 If an anomaly is detected, armed sanitation guards descend on their homes to take them to quarantine camps. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "KJ Apa survives in a dystopian L.A. in first trailer for COVID thriller Songbird," 29 Oct. 2020 During this time, the spacecraft will descend from its orbit around the asteroid and eventually come close enough to touch it. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "NASA mission will touch down on asteroid Bennu today," 20 Oct. 2020 If all goes as planned, the spacecraft will descend near the surface and an 11-foot robotic arm topped with a filter will touch the rocky surface, trapping gravel and dust inside. Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic, "NASA asteroid mission 2020: How to watch OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collect asteroid sample," 19 Oct. 2020 As many as 80,000 people descend on Manchester for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, a four-day outdoor concert on a farm. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Philharmonic pop-up, college cheaters, debating the response: News from around our 50 states," 14 Oct. 2020 During the annual Marfa Open Art Festival, more than 40,000 people from all over the world descend on the town to view visual arts of all kinds, leaving the firefighters (who mostly operate on donations) to handle the overflow. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ten Places That Could Be Straight Out of a Wes Anderson Film," 14 Oct. 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

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Descend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/descend. Accessed 28 Nov. 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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Comments on descend

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