descendant

adjective
de·​scen·​dant | \ di-ˈsen-dənt How to pronounce descendant (audio) \
variants: or less commonly descendent

Definition of descendant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : moving or directed downward listed in descendant order
2 : proceeding from an ancestor or source

descendant

noun
variants: or less commonly descendent

Definition of descendant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one originating or coming from an ancestral stock or source : one descended from another descendants of King David a descendant of an ancient grass
2 : one deriving directly from a precursor or prototype Italian and other descendants of Latin

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Synonyms & Antonyms for descendant

Synonyms: Adjective

bowed, bowing, declined, declining, descending, drooping, droopy, hanging, hung, inclining, nodding, pendulous, sagging, stooping, weeping

Antonyms: Adjective

unbending, upright

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Did You Know?

Descendant is the opposite of ancestor. Your grandparents' descendants are those who are descended from them—your parents, your brothers and sisters, and any children that any of you may have. It's been claimed that every person on earth is a descendant of Muhammad, and of every historical person before him—Julius Caesar, the Buddha, etc.—who started a line of descent. (Some of us still find this hard to believe.) And not all descendants are human; every modern thesaurus, for example, could be called the descendant of the one devised by Peter Mark Roget in 1852.

Examples of descendant in a Sentence

Adjective

the descendant branches of a weeping willow

Noun

One of the famous inventor's descendants is also an inventor. Many people in this area are descendants of German immigrants. Recent evidence supports the theory that birds are the modern descendants of dinosaurs. The Italian language is one of Latin's descendants.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

American Jewry is also dominated by a European-descendant establishment, despite a significant and growing population of Jews of color who can have real problems feeling accepted in the community. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Julia Salazar, the socialist politician accused of lying about her past, explained," 7 Sep. 2018 Today, local representatives from descendant communities visit the site twice a year and help guide the research. Jon Hurdle, New York Times, "Ruined ‘Apartments’ May Hold Clues to Native American History," 4 Sep. 2017 The group was made up of friends of Ariana Rockefeller, the descendant grand-niece of the property's founder. Avril Graham, Harper's BAZAAR, "Just Back From...A Long Weekend in Puerto Rico," 8 May 2017 A descendant sapling from a tree planted by children who were killed during the Holocaust was planted at Niles West High School Thursday, April 27, in honor of Arbor Day. Mike Isaacs, chicagotribune.com, "Arbor Day: Sapling from tree grown during Holocaust planted at Niles West," 28 Apr. 2017 Protesters also poured into the streets of several cities in Chocó, the blackest department (comparable to a U.S. state), with an 80 percent African-descendant population. Lori S. Robinson, The Root, "Fighting for Black Lives in Colombia: At War’s End, the Search for a Seat at the Table," 3 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Almost a century later, their modern-day descendants are prospecting for the more exotic materials that have become the latest flash point in the U.S.-China trade war. David J. Lynch, Anchorage Daily News, "China hints it will choke off U.S. ‘rare earths’ access. But it’s not that easy.," 11 June 2019 His descendants — which include six daughters and three sons — went on to found Glacier National Park, fund construction of Visitation Convent in Mendota Heights, and revive the St. Paul Winter Carnival in 1916. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "Nearing the century mark, downtown St. Paul’s James J. Hill Center to close in July," 11 June 2019 Their ancestors are by no means compensated by the degradation of the world their descendants will inherit. Marilynne Robinson, Harper's magazine, "Is Poverty Necessary?," 10 June 2019 The Germans found many willing servants among local fascists and nationalists whose main historical modus operandi, like that of their masters, was genocide—their descendants would be at it again a couple of generations later. Aleksandar Hemon, The New Yorker, "My Mother and the Failed Experiment of Yugoslavia," 5 June 2019 In addition to fears surrounding the quality of life for future generations, some BirthStrikers don't want to have children because of the extra emissions that their kids, and their descendants, will produce. Stephanie Bailey, CNN, "BirthStrike: The people refusing to have kids, because of climate change," 5 June 2019 That person’s family and their descendants outlived and out-reproduced their peers at an astonishing rate. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "A Study Exposes the Health Risks of Gene-Editing Human Embryos," 3 June 2019 Many were unarmed, and at least 15 were killed, as tens of thousands of people, including women and children, gathered to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to land in Israel. Lincoln Anthony Blades, Teen Vogue, "How Policing in the U.S. and Security in Israel Are Connected," 16 July 2018 Doreen Hemlock Special to the Miami Herald Today, more Guyanese and their descendants live in New York, Florida and other U.S. locales than live in Guyana itself, or roughly 800,000, said Holloway. Doreen Hemlock, miamiherald, "Cubans are flocking to Guyana for economic reasons — but there's a twist," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'descendant.' 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 descendant

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1569, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for descendant

Adjective

Middle English dessendaunte, from Anglo-French descendant, from Latin descendent-, descendens, present participle of descendere — see descend

Noun

French & Latin; French descendant, from Late Latin descendent-, descendens, from Latin

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Time Traveler for descendant

The first known use of descendant was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for descendant

descendant

noun

English Language Learners Definition of descendant

: someone who is related to a person or group of people who lived in the past
: a plant or animal that is related to a particular plant or animal that lived long ago
: something that developed from another thing that was made or existed earlier

descendant

noun
de·​scen·​dant | \ di-ˈsen-dənt How to pronounce descendant (audio) \

Kids Definition of descendant

1 : someone related to a person or group of people who lived at an earlier time
2 : a thing that comes from something that existed at an earlier time

descendant

noun
de·​scen·​dant
variants: also descendent \ di-​ˈsen-​dənt \

Legal Definition of descendant

: a blood relative of a later generation

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