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

decline, dip, drop, fall, plunge, sink

Antonyms

arise, ascend, climb, mount, rise, uprise, upsweep, upturn

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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

City officials say the campus’ long-range development plan of 2005 never warned that thousands more students — roughly the population of Emeryville, and boosting enrollment by more than a quarter — would descend on the city. Nanette Asimov, SFChronicle.com, "Growing pains, housing crunch strain town-gown relations in Berkeley, Palo Alto," 8 July 2019 Pogba has publicly stated his desire for a 'new challenge somewhere else', sending the transfer rumour universe into overdrive, with an avalanche of reports and counterclaims descending on the football world. SI.com, "Juventus Offer Man Utd Choice of Three Stars in Exchange for Paul Pogba," 4 July 2019 Sophie Lawson, a freelance reporter, recalled some of the biggest names on Fleet Street, almost all of them men, descending on a media event last January at which Neville’s hiring was announced. Tariq Panja, New York Times, "World Cup Reporters Find Huge Audiences and Familiar Challenges," 4 July 2019 Local and federal officials on Friday held a news conference to address security issues and deliver updates on the plans still unfurling just days before usually large crowds descend on the Mall from across the region and the country. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "DC Fourth of July event will now have a VIP section," 28 June 2019 As Trump and world leaders descend on Osaka, in Japan, Thursdayfor the G20, tariffs and the trade war with China will be high on the agenda. Emiko Jozuka, CNN, "How Honda survived a trade war with the US and won over Americans," 26 June 2019 Jonas, armed with his flashlight that looks like a kettlebell and his radiation detector, makes his way to the power plant, and sees a large, unwieldy blob, that appears to be descending on him. Abbey Maxbauer, refinery29.com, "R29 Binge Club: Netflix's Dark Season 2 Recap," 25 June 2019 After a glut of shopping opportunities at New York auctions in May and at the Swiss fair Art Basel this month, jaded collectors are descending on London craving novelty, not safe bets. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "Art Collectors Get Picky at London Auctions," 23 June 2019 Kosovo reached peak euphoria last week when Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright descended on the capital Prishtina. Una Hajdari, The New Republic, "The Clinton Administration Did Not Fix the Balkans," 21 June 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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Statistics for descend

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for descend

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

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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 descendible (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on descend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with descend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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