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 \ -​ˈsen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce descendible (audio) \ 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

The selloff has descended on a market that has both grown enormously and decreased in quality. Steven Russolillo, WSJ, "Global Selloff Tests Changed Credit Market," 22 Nov. 2018 The car attack came after the rally had descended into chaos, with brawling breaking out between white nationalists and counterdemonstrators. Washington Post, "Hate crime charges leveled after Charlottesville attack," 29 June 2018 The attack came after the rally had descended into chaos — with violent brawling between attendees and counterdemonstrators — and authorities had forced the crowd to disband. NBC News, "Charlottesville driver Alex Fields Jr. faces hate crime charges one year after rally," 27 June 2018 In the days since former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger's departure, the 65-member GOP caucus has descended into political gamesmanship and finger-pointing over Rosenberger's fall. Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati.com, "After FBI probe, GOP fight & lawmaking backlog, Ohio House might finally pick new speaker," 5 June 2018 The primitive campgrounds rose up around Horsethief as anglers descended on the area and created their own spots. Chadd Cripe, idahostatesman, "Transformation continues at popular Idaho campground. But it isn't fully open yet. | Idaho Statesman," 21 May 2018 Huge crowds had descended on Windsor, west of London, to catch a glimpse of Harry and Meghan and soak up the party atmosphere. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Royal Family expresses thanks after Harry and Meghan's radical day," 20 May 2018 The summer heat has descended on San Antonio, and health officials are warning people to prepare: Drink fluids, stay inside during the late afternoons, watch for signs of heat stroke, and don’t leave children or pets unattended inside vehicles. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "The heat is here, San Antonio," 11 May 2018 Friends and family had descended on the scene and the Coast Guard, Ocean Safety and the Honolulu Fire Department were actively searching for Sri. Jamie Goldberg, OregonLive.com, "Through the death of her father and a battle with mental illness, Mana Shim perseveres," 7 Apr. 2018

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

21 Mar 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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