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 descend (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 Cities began allowing people to gather again for weddings, cricket matches and religious festivals, including Kumbh Mela, when millions of pilgrims descend on the sacred Ganges and Yamuna rivers. Los Angeles Times, "Bodies pile up as vaccine campaigns sputter and COVID-19 variants spread," 24 Apr. 2021 Potter has since been arrested and charged with manslaughter for the incident that took place last Sunday, and the city once again seen droves of rioters descend on its streets. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Minnesota bill would make convicted protesters ineligible for government assistance," 19 Apr. 2021 The mist clings to the hillsides of a temperate rainforest that descend steeply to the rocky coastline of southeast Alaska. New York Times, "On the Water in Alaska, Where Salmon Fishing Dreams Live On," 19 Apr. 2021 The officer begs him to stay awake, to stay alert as the paramedics descend. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | COLUMNIST: We must do better in memory of Adam," 17 Apr. 2021 The lower half of the top 10 on this week’s Billboard 200 is largely populated by albums that either hold their place from last frame or descend slightly, with one returning to the arena for another go. Hugh Mcintyre, Forbes, "Justin Bieber Returns To No. 1 On The Albums Chart, Beating Demi Lovato By A Tiny Sum," 11 Apr. 2021 The form is jagged on two sides, while heights descend from six to four stories on the east. John King, San Francisco Chronicle, "Stocky modular buildings are popping up in East Bay. They look surprisingly good," 10 Apr. 2021 But the stretcher was too big to fit in the office elevator, and the doctor would descend to the lobby and examine Jasmine there — in front of strangers — or, alternatively, in a storage room. Carol Marbin Miller, ProPublica, "When Births Go Horribly Wrong, Florida Protects Doctors and Forces Families to Pay the Price," 8 Apr. 2021 As all the bounty hunters in town descend on the location — and Sharon fights off most of them — Zemo shoots the doc and then things get really intense. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Recap: New Invaders," 2 Apr. 2021

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

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Descend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/descend. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for descend

descend

verb

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 descend (audio) \ adjective

Comments on descend

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