descend

verb

de·​scend di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio)
dē-
descended; descending; descends

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
3
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
5
a
: 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.
7
a
: 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
descendible adjective

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The heart attack was the result of a blockage in the heart’s biggest artery — the left anterior descending arterty — that prevented blood from getting to the heart muscle’s blood supply, causing Parker to go into cardiac arrest. James Hartley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 6 June 2024 Cold water in the Boise River The hottest week of the year so far is about to descend upon Boise, with temperatures rapidly increasing through the week. Shaun Goodwin, Idaho Statesman, 5 June 2024 Weekends boom with families descending for all-you-can-eat pancakes served with Gulf of Mexico views at the beloved Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe. Terry Ward, Travel + Leisure, 2 June 2024 Well, this airplane did in fact descend – after this incident when people got hurt – several thousand feet. Abc News, ABC News, 22 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for descend 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'descend.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Anglo-French descendre, from Latin descendere, from de- + scandere to climb — more at scan

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3b

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

Dictionary Entries Near descend

Cite this Entry

“Descend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/descend. Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

descend

verb
de·​scend di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio)
1
: to pass from a higher to a lower place or level
2
a
: to originate or come down from a source : derive
descended from an ancient family
b
: to be handed down to an heir or from an earlier time
the mansion descended to a son
a custom descended from ancient times
3
a
: to incline, lead, or extend downward
the road descends to the river
b
: to pass, move, or climb down or down along
4
: to make a sudden attack by or as if by swooping down
5
: to sink in status, dignity, or condition

Medical Definition

descend

intransitive verb
de·​scend di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio)
: 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

Legal Definition

descend

intransitive verb
de·​scend di-ˈsend How to pronounce descend (audio)
: to pass by inheritance
descendibility
-ˌsen-də-ˈbi-lə-tē
noun
descendible adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on descend

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