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See more synonyms for descend on Thesaurus.com
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.
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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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for descend

plunge, crash, collapse, tumble, dive, subside, settle, cascade, slide, plummet, swoop, slip, penetrate, disembark, trickle, dip, stumble, sink, degenerate, deteriorate

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
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper