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 Five days after the shooting, 100,000 people descended on the capital to protest the war. Bob Dyer, cincinnati.com, "Iconic image from Kent State shootings stokes the fires of anti-Vietnam War sentiment," 2 May 2020 That prevailing, descending wind off the Rockies is what helps keep Denver’s climate dry and mild, at least relatively speaking compared to what the city’s altitude and latitude would suggest. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Here’s (meteorologically) why Denver’s roads are still covered in snow and ice," 2 Dec. 2019 Points are given based on order of finish in the standings, with six for first place, five for second place, and so on in descending order (ties are broken, if possible, based on head-to-head results). Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carroll Cup: Southern rivals Century, Liberty tied for lead after fall season," 25 Nov. 2019 The crowd that descended on the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street in Huntington Beach was significantly larger than a demonstration at the same site near the Huntington Beach Pier two weeks ago. Los Angeles Times, "Judge refuses to block Newsom’s order closing Orange County beaches," 1 May 2020 The Trump administration began using the DPA in earnest last week, in an effort that immediately descended into farce and recrimination. Elias Groll, Wired, "The Defense Production Act Won’t Fix America’s Mask Shortage," 6 Apr. 2020 The move effectively sets off a logistical scramble to accommodate the thousands of delegates that will descend upon Milwaukee to nominate the Democratic ticket that will take on President Donald Trump in the fall. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "2020 DNC in Milwaukee pushed back to week of August 17 in response to coronavirus pandemic," 2 Apr. 2020 Waters that descended off nutrient-rich Antarctica had more carbon-12 than carbon-13, whereas those from the nutrient-poor North Atlantic have the opposite pattern. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Ancient warming threw this crucial Atlantic current into chaos. It could happen again," 26 Mar. 2020 The powerful tornado that descended upon Nashville on Tuesday morning blew parts of the roof off Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in North Nashville... James Freeman, WSJ, "Bloomberg Proves Sanders Wrong," 4 Mar. 2020

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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Descend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/descend. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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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