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

Race was invented by European colonists to provide an excuse for the systematic oppression of African-descendant people. Kelley Fanto Deetz, The Conversation, "Setting the historical record straight for the critics of The New York Times project on slavery in America," 23 Aug. 2019 The school hopes to draw in the descendant community in several ways. Susan Svrluga, Washington Post, "College of William & Mary to explore the legacies of slavery and racism," 31 July 2019 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

Two years ago, in April 2017, this tree was watered by the descendants of the 272 people who had been sold to save the university. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "The Fine Line Campus Tour Guides Walk—Backwards," 29 Aug. 2019 Baby Sussex will continue to get bumped down the line of succession by the descendants of the Cambridge children. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Announce That Their Baby's Birth Will Be Private," 11 Apr. 2019 The agency now provides education, health care and social services to more than 5 million refugees and their descendants. Josef Federman, Fox News, "UN official: Palestinian refugee issue can't be wished away," 24 Aug. 2018 The idea took off in the impoverished Palestinian enclave where 70 percent of the population are refugees or descendants of refugees. NBC News, "Why Palestinians risk their lives to protest near Gaza-Israel fence," 21 June 2018 Over two-thirds of Gazans are refugees and descendants of refugees from towns and villages in Israel. Nathan Thrall, Time, "How the Idea of Return Has Shaped the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict for 70 Years," 14 May 2018 All vessels used worldwide by Exxon’s corporate descendant, ExxonMobil, are now double-hulled. The Economist, "The Exxon Valdez of cyberspace," 8 Aug. 2019 The descendants of the McLaughlins, who purchased the property in 1887, depended on donations from visitors to help pay for the 8,000 new bulbs needed each year. Linda Zavoral, The Mercury News, "Owners closing Daffodil Hill — it’s become way too popular," 15 July 2019 Richard was a direct descendant (on his mother's side) of Lieutenant David Goodrich who served in the Connecticut line with Lafayette during the Revolutionary War. courant.com, "Richard Elmer Loose Sr.," 14 July 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

6 Sep 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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