Definition of descent
1a : derivation from an ancestor : birth, lineage of French descent patrilineal descentb : transmission or devolution of an estate (see 1estate 4b) by inheritance usually in the descending linec : the fact or process of originating from an ancestral stock the descent of modern humans and chimpanzees from a common ancestord : the shaping or development in nature and character by transmission from a source : derivation … could trace a faint but sure descent from Roman law. — R. W. Southern
2 : the act or process of descending from a higher to a lower level, rank, or state begin our descent down the mountain
3 : a step downward in a scale of gradation; specifically : one generation in an ancestral line or genealogical scale His pedigree shows eleven descents.
4a : an inclination downward : slope a nearly perpendicular descentb : a way (as a downgrade or stairway) that descends or leads downwardc obsolete : the lowest part from the extremest upward of thy head to the descent and dust below thy foot — Shakespeare
6 : a downward step (as in station or value) : decline the descent of the family into poverty
Examples of descent in a sentence
The book describes his descent into a deep depression after the death of his wife.
her slow descent to a life of addiction
The only path that goes down to the river is a rather steep descent, so be careful.
Origin and Etymology of descent
Middle English, from Anglo-French descente, from Anglo-French descendre —see descend
First Known Use: 14th century
DESCENT Defined for Kids
Definition of descent for Students
1 : an act of coming or going down in location or condition The plane began its descent.
2 : a downward slope a steep descent
3 : a person's ancestors She is of Korean descent.
Medical Definition of descent
1: the act or process of descending from a higher to a lower location descent of the testes into the scrotum
2a: derivation from an ancestorb: the fact or process of originating by generation from an ancestral stock (as a species or genus)
3: a former method of distillation in which the material was heated in a vessel having its outlet underneath so that the vapors produced were forced to descend
Legal Definition of descent
: transmission or devolution of the estate of a person who has died without a valid will — compare distribution
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