descendant

adjective
de·​scen·​dant | \ di-ˈsen-dənt \
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

According to the lore of the show, Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) is a descendant of Wyatt Earp, who got the clan put under a curse. Maureen Ryan, New York Times, "A Cult Show’s Recipe for Success: Whiskey, Twitter and Complex Women," 6 July 2018 For example, Baker City winemaker Travis Cook, 33, is a descendant of one of the last families to travel the trail, in 1894. Terri Colby, chicagotribune.com, "Following in footsteps — or wagon ruts — of American history on Oregon Trail," 24 May 2018 According to an article in the Mackinac Island Town Crier, Andress was said to be a direct descendant of Chief Mackinac — son of Chief Big Head of the Northern People Nation, which stretched from Detroit to Montreal. Brandon Patterson, Detroit Free Press, "Mackinac Island icon Don 'The Duck' Andress dies of cancer at 82," 24 Apr. 2018 To teach rope-twirling to the cast, the Goodspeed enlisted someone who is a direct descendant of vaudeville traditions. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Goodspeed Updates 'Will Rogers Follies' — Rope Tricks And All — For A New Age," 18 Apr. 2018 India’s tiny Parsi community of 57,000 people—descendants of the Zoroastrian religious minority that came to India from Iran starting centuries ago—are a powerful group with property and temples across the city. Corinne Abrams, WSJ, "‘You Have to Actually Cut Open Mumbai’s Belly’—Inside One of the World’s Most Audacious Transit Projects," 6 Jan. 2019 Lord Carrington, the sixth baron of Carrington, was the longest-serving member of the House of Lords and a descendant of textile merchants, bankers, and members of Parliament dating to the 18th century. Robert D. Mcfadden, BostonGlobe.com, "Lord Carrington, former UK foreign secretary, dies at 99," 11 July 2018 Lord Carrington, the sixth baron of Carrington, was the longest-serving member of the House of Lords and a descendant of textile merchants, bankers and members of Parliament dating to the 18th century. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Lord Carrington, 99, Former British Foreign Secretary, Dies," 10 July 2018 Brazeau, Canty’s oldest descendant, and several other relatives will make the trip to Washington to see Canty buried at Arlington, which is just across the Potomac River from Washington, in Virginia. David Owens, courant.com, "74 Years Later, Connecticut Airman Shot Down Over France In WW II To Get Proper Burial," 7 July 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 \

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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