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


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for descendant

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Instead, his descendant Johanna Costantine appears (and has an identical ancestor). Milan Polk, Men's Health, 6 Aug. 2022 Through grant funding, the community will create a restoration and maintenance plan, address issues surrounding descendant access, and initiate a research project to document the cemetery. Rachel Silva, ELLE Decor, 20 July 2022 Three descendant corgis — Holly, Monty and Willow — appeared alongside the queen and James Bond in a skit for the opening of the 2012 London Olympics. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 31 May 2022 Recognizing the direct descendant relationship between the ancient painters and the present-day guides proves critical to appreciating the Hills’ significance. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 1 June 2022 Another two represent the National Trust and have supported the efforts to include the descendant community. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, 16 May 2022 Wayne led the first genetic studies proposing the ancestor-descendant relationship between the two species and more recently was one of the 30 co-authors of the latest study, published in PLOS Genetics, that debunked that notion. Virginia Morell, Scientific American, 1 July 2015 Ultimately, the archaeologists and descendant community hope to better protect the site from amateur collectors. Matt Stirn, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Mar. 2022 Spanish Fort resident Lum Morrison, Bill Morrison’s nephew and oldest living descendant, received the flag from his seat on the front row, nearest the coffin. J.d. Crowe |, al, 6 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This exciting finding from the past — hidden beneath today’s Colts’ stadium — was just the tip of the iceberg for Curtis, who himself is a descendant of Arab immigrants. The Indianapolis Star, 22 July 2022 And for now, signs are pointing toward this winter’s virus being a descendant of Omicron. Benjamin Mueller,, 4 July 2022 And for now, signs are pointing toward this winter’s virus being a descendant of Omicron. Benjamin Mueller, New York Times, 4 July 2022 Angie Mar, whose aunt was the late Ruby Chow, a Seattle restaurateur and politician, is a descendant of an American Chinese restaurant empire—but has taken up cooking French cuisine in her own career. Esther Tseng, Bon Appétit, 1 July 2022 Breeze is a descendant of Jet Blue airlines, which tried to start flights from the Rocket City to Charleston, New Orleans and Tampa. Lee Roop |, al, 30 June 2022 Renteria, the descendant of a longtime farming family, owns a ranch with a 2,500-square-foot home in neighboring Reeves County, about a half-hour drive away. Susan Carroll, NBC News, 1 July 2022 The find also sheds light on the way race and slavery became entangled in the nation's maritime economy, said historian Lee Blake, a descendant of Paul Cuffe, a prominent Black whaling captain who made at least two trips aboard the Industry. CBS News, 23 Mar. 2022 In 1908, a decade after the U.S. annexed Hawaii, this descendant of island royalty (seated on the right) took the world title for best steer-roper at the championship in Cheyenne, Wyoming, ensnaring his quarry in under a minute. Chris La Tray, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of descendant


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1569, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for descendant


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


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

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

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Last Updated

17 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Descendant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for descendant


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


variants: also descendent \ di-​ˈsen-​dənt \

Legal Definition of descendant

: a blood relative of a later generation

More from Merriam-Webster on descendant

Nglish: Translation of descendant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of descendant for Arabic Speakers


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