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

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 Scribbling madly, Beryl demands that her obliging husband descend the staircase naked as a model, à la Duchamp. The New Yorker, 9 Dec. 2021 Lyle, a writer and producer, read the comments, many of them skeptical that girls would descend into such barbarism. New York Times, 10 Nov. 2021 After sweeping to power in late August, the Taliban have seen their authority challenged by Islamic State fighters, prompting fears that the country could descend into civil war once again. Eduard Gismatullin And Nick Wadhams / Bloomberg, Time, 11 Oct. 2021 Moscow remains wary about Islamist extremism spilling from Afghanistan and fears that the Taliban rule may descend into civil war and chaos. Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2021 Monument Circle will host a series of free concerts beginning Saturday, but careful planning will be required as some 100,000 people are expected to descend on downtown Indy for the College Football National Championship game and related events. Rory Appleton, The Indianapolis Star, 5 Jan. 2022 Crowds are expected to descend on La Villita and the area surrounding the Hemisfair park, including the Tower of the Americas, to enjoy live music and a fireworks show. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 31 Dec. 2021 With the holidays upon us, winter, with its short days and bitter cold nights, is about to descend on the United States. John Harrington, USA TODAY, 30 Nov. 2021 When Black women online speak of isolation, loneliness and lack of care in romantic relationships, people descend onto our vulnerability like sharks in a frenzy. Shaadi Devereaux, refinery29.com, 8 Nov. 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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Dictionary Entries Near descend

Descartian

descend

descendance

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Statistics for descend

Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Descend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/descend. Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for descend

descend

verb

English Language Learners Definition of descend

: 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.

descend

intransitive verb
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

descend

intransitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on descend

Nglish: Translation of descend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of descend for Arabic Speakers

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