descend

verb
de·​scend | \ di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio) , dē-\
descended; descending; descends

Definition of descend

intransitive verb

1 : to pass from a higher place or level to a lower one descended from the platform
2 : to pass in discussion from what is logically prior or more comprehensive descends from the general to the specific
3a : to originate or come from an ancestral stock or source : derive descends from an old merchant family
b : to pass by inheritance a desk that has descended in the family
c : to pass by transmission songs descended from old ballads
4a : to incline, lead, or extend downward the road descends to the river
b physiology : to conduct nerve impulses away from the brain … lesions that interrupt the descending pathways from the cortex or brain stem produce weakness in voluntary movements …— Claude Ghez and John Krakauer
5a : to swoop or pounce down (as in a sudden attack) a hawk descending upon its prey
b : to appear suddenly and often disconcertingly as if from above reporters descended on the candidate
6 : to proceed in a sequence or gradation from higher to lower or from more remote to nearer or more recent Their scores were listed in descending order.
7a : to lower oneself in status or dignity : stoop
b : to worsen and sink in condition or estimation He descended into a deep depression. descended to poverty descend into chaos
c : to pass from higher to lower musical notes The harmony descends chromatically.

transitive verb

1 : to pass, move, or climb down or down along descending the staircase
2 : to extend down along a narrow scar descended her arm

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Other Words from descend

descendible \ di-​ˈsen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce descendible (audio) , dē-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for descend

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Examples of descend in a Sentence

Wait for the elevator to descend. The workers descended into the hole. A herd of goats descended into the valley. The airplane will descend to a lower altitude soon. Descending the mountain was even more dangerous than climbing it. The children descended the staircase silently. The path descends to the river. The stairs descended into the tunnel.
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Recent Examples on the Web The storm’s intense downdrafts raked forests, descending from elevations of a mile or so, then blasted horizontally at ground level with the direction of the advancing front. Larry Parnass, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'The storm just tore across northern Wisconsin': When two weather fronts combine, it's a formula for disaster," 23 Oct. 2019 None of the people at our Thanksgiving table were descended from the Puritans—or the Wampanoag either, for that matter. Celeste Ng, Bon Appétit, "The Strangers at Our Thanksgiving Table," 23 Oct. 2019 Made as a joke, there were soldiers descending from helicopters, armed police arriving by boat, only to end with Taylor sat in a garden chair with a cup of tea. SI.com, "7 Players Who 'Earned' New Contracts Despite Doing Pretty Much Nothing," 18 Oct. 2019 Israel’s Arab citizens make up 20% of the population and are descended from Palestinians who remained in the state after its creation in 1948. Joseph Krauss, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Israeli Arabs go on strike to protest deadly crime wave," 3 Oct. 2019 Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes The outfits descended from the ceiling right onto models who waited with their arms stretched up—like kids being dressed by an invisible, giant adult. Annalisa Merelli, Quartzy, "Issey Miyake’s latest fashion show is an ode to the beauty of female joy," 28 Sep. 2019 Like Kindred, whose main character is married to a white man and partially descended from slave-owners, The Water Dancer seems to dwell on interracial ties to remind us how deeply black and white histories are intertwined. Eric Herschthal, The New Republic, "How Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Novel Reckons With the Past," 17 Sep. 2019 And when so many of the asylum seekers currently sitting in cages or in desperate trouble at the U.S. border are descended from the people who won their independence nearly 200 years ago. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Feliz #HispanicHeritageMonth: raceAhead," 16 Sep. 2019 Born Ororo Munroe in New York, Storm had a father who was an African-American photographer and a mother who was Kenyan, descended from royalty. Oliver Staley, Quartz, "Storm is comics’ overlooked groundbreaking superhero," 11 Sep. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3b

History and Etymology for descend

Middle English, from Anglo-French descendre, from Latin descendere, from de- + scandere to climb — more at scan

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Time Traveler for descend

Time Traveler

The first known use of descend was in the 14th century

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Statistics for descend

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Descend.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/descended. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for descend

descend

verb
How to pronounce descend (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of descend

formal
: to go down : to go or move from a higher to a lower place or level
: to slope or lead downward
: to go or change to a worse state or condition

descend

verb
de·​scend | \ di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio) \
descended; descending

Kids Definition of descend

1 : to come or go down from a higher place or level to a lower one The elevator descended.
2 : to move down or down along Descending the cliff was dangerous.
3 : to slope or lead downward The road descends to the valley.
4 : to come down from an earlier time The custom descends from ancient times.
5 : to come down from a source or ancestor : derive Many words descend from Latin.
6 : to be handed down to an heir
7 : to arrive from or as if from the sky Locusts descended on the crops. Holiday shoppers descended on the mall.
8 : to sink in dignity or respectability : stoop I never thought they would descend to cheating.
9 : to sink to a worse condition The classroom descended into chaos.
de·​scend | \ di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio) \

Medical Definition of descend

: to pass from a higher place or level to a lower one normally the testicle descends into the scrotum between the seventh and ninth month in uteroTherapeutic Notes

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de·​scend | \ di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio) \

Legal Definition of descend

: to pass by inheritance

Other Words from descend

descendibility \ -​ˌsen-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
descendible \ -​ˈsen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce descendible (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on descend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for descend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with descend

Spanish Central: Translation of descend

Nglish: Translation of descend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of descend for Arabic Speakers

Comments on descend

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