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

Harvard’s Peabody Museum holds the images and has gone to great lengths to develop practices that engage descendant communities and others who may have an interest in its some of its sensitive collections. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "Agassiz descendants put pressure on Harvard to give up slave photos," 19 June 2019 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

That includes connections, education, and business experience for the descendants of slave owners. NBC News, "As McConnell's family shows, the legacy of slavery persists in most American lives," 9 July 2019 Merriam-Webster has long been the largest dictionary and reference book company in the world, and the massive Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1961) is the direct descendant of Noah Webster’s mind and spirit. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Noah Webster’s American Revolution in language," 29 June 2019 Another witness, black freelance writer Coleman Hughes, said that he was opposed to reparations for all descendants of slaves. Grace Segers, CBS News, "House committee confronts the "inheritance of slavery" in panel on reparations," 19 June 2019 AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a hearing on reparations for descendants of slaves today (June 19). Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Watch Ta-Nehisi Coates school Mitch McConnell on American history," 19 June 2019 Patrick Hungerford, who lives in England and is a descendant of one of James Smithson’s siblings, discovered the book on a friend’s recommendation. Michael Waters, Smithsonian, "Mr. Smithson’s Family Goes to Washington," 14 June 2019 SPCA International is now caring for the modern day descendants of the canines and cats that survived Chernobyl and the liquidators. Eric Todisco, PEOPLE.com, "GoFundMe Started to Rescue Stray Animals Still Affected by the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster," 12 June 2019 For some descendants of slaves, artifacts such as the Clotilda represent a tangible connection to their ancestors. National Geographic, "13 destinations for African-American history and culture," 23 May 2019 Finally, Mountbatten-Windsor is the last name used for descendants of Queen Elizabeth II who don't have His/Her Royal Highness Prince or Princess titles. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Announce the Royal Baby's Name," 8 May 2019

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

Last Updated

28 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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Comments on descendant

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