verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

to move downward upon or along; go or climb down (stairs, a hill, etc.).
to extend or lead down along: The path descends the hill.

Origin of descend

1250–1300; Middle English descenden < Old French descendre < Latin dēscendere, equivalent to dē- de- + -scendere, combining form of scandere to climb; cf. scansion
Related formsde·scend·ing·ly, adverbpre·de·scend, verbre·de·scend, verbun·de·scend·ed, adjectiveun·de·scend·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for descend

Contemporary Examples of descend

Historical Examples of descend

  • With a lowering face he watched her descend and, his hand on the newel, confronted her.


    William J. Locke

  • The explosion had blown in the wall and cut off the only path by which they could descend.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • They could not now descend from the eminence on which they stood.

  • At this stage it is not necessary or desirable to descend to detail.

  • The mountain that is easy to descend must soon be climbed again.

    The Biography of a Grizzly

    Ernest Seton-Thompson

British Dictionary definitions for descend


verb (mainly intr)

(also tr) to move, pass, or go down (a hill, slope, staircase, etc)
(of a hill, slope, or path) to lead or extend down; slope; incline
to move to a lower level, pitch, etc; fall
(often foll by from) to be connected by a blood relationship (to a dead or extinct individual, race, species, etc)
to be passed on by parents or ancestors; be inherited
to sink or come down in morals or behaviour; lower oneself
(often foll by on or upon) to arrive or attack in a sudden or overwhelming waytheir relatives descended upon them last week
(of the sun, moon, etc) to move towards the horizon
Derived Formsdescendable, adjective

Word Origin for descend

C13: from Old French descendre, from Latin dēscendere, from de- + scandere to climb; see scan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for descend

c.1300, from Old French descendre (10c.) "descend, dismount; fall into; originate in," from Latin descendere "come down, descend, sink," from de- "down" (see de-) + scandere "to climb," from PIE root *skand- "jump" (see scan (v.)). Sense of "originate" is late 14c. in English. Related: Descended; descending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper