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

Many descendants of camp survivors grew up without learning about the camps because their families never discussed it, whether out of embarrassment, shame, or painful memories associated with being imprisoned. Taylor Weik, Teen Vogue, "Japanese-American Teens are Confronting History by Visiting World War II Former Incarceration Camps," 8 May 2019 But some of its cousins, like the crocodiles and alligators, persist today, as do the descendants of dinosaurs: birds. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Found in the Cold Mountains of Antarctica: A Warm Weather Lizard Fossil," 31 Jan. 2019 The latest is Record of a Spaceborn Few, which follows the descendants of the last flotilla of starships to depart Earth, who have clung to their way of life aboard the aging fleet. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 Even so, three years and 10 generations later, Moeller and his colleagues could still tell the difference between descendants of Arizona mice and Canadian mice just by looking at their gut microbes. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Mammals inherit most of their gut bacteria, new study suggests," 26 Oct. 2018 The descendants of massacre victims and Confederate plantation owners have formed a committee to honor the victims of that violence and, if possible, find a mass grave. Kevin Mcgill, The Christian Science Monitor, "Oil company works to preserve slave gravesite found on its land," 14 June 2018 This is Levi’s return to public markets after the Haas family, descendants of company founder Levi Strauss, took the jeans company private in 1985. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Levi CFO Returns to NYSE to Float Another Family-Owned American Icon," 21 Mar. 2019 That the prehistoric creatures and man have only ever existed side by side through the dinosaur’s descendants, birds, scarcely matters. Pam Grady, SFChronicle.com, "Cinematic dinosaurs roared long before the first ‘Jurassic’ movie," 14 June 2018 The queen, a direct descendant of the patriots’ nemesis King George III, indicated there were no hard feelings. Kristen De Groot, Philly.com, "Group plans to put Philadelphia's other bell back on display," 31 Mar. 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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Statistics for descendant

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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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