See more synonyms for descend on
verb (used without object)
  1. to go or pass from a higher to a lower place; move or come down: to descend from the mountaintop.
  2. to pass from higher to lower in any scale or series.
  3. to go from generals to particulars, as in a discussion.
  4. to slope, tend, or lead downward: The path descends to the pond.
  5. to be inherited or transmitted, as through succeeding generations of a family: The title descends through eldest sons.
  6. to have a specific person or family among one's ancestors (usually followed by from): He is descended from Cromwell.
  7. to be derived from something remote in time, especially through continuous transmission: This festival descends from a druidic rite.
  8. to approach or pounce upon, especially in a greedy or hasty manner (followed by on or upon): Thrill-seekers descended upon the scene of the crime.
  9. to settle, as a cloud or vapor.
  10. to appear or become manifest, as a supernatural being, state of mind, etc.: Jupiter descended to humankind.
  11. to attack, especially with violence and suddenness (usually followed by on or upon): to descend upon enemy soldiers.
  12. to sink or come down from a certain intellectual, moral, or social standard: He would never descend to baseness.
  13. Astronomy. to move toward the horizon, as the sun or a star.
verb (used with object)
  1. to move downward upon or along; go or climb down (stairs, a hill, etc.).
  2. 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. 2018

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)
  1. (also tr) to move, pass, or go down (a hill, slope, staircase, etc)
  2. (of a hill, slope, or path) to lead or extend down; slope; incline
  3. to move to a lower level, pitch, etc; fall
  4. (often foll by from) to be connected by a blood relationship (to a dead or extinct individual, race, species, etc)
  5. to be passed on by parents or ancestors; be inherited
  6. to sink or come down in morals or behaviour; lower oneself
  7. (often foll by on or upon) to arrive or attack in a sudden or overwhelming waytheir relatives descended upon them last week
  8. (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