[dih-sen-duh nt]


a person or animal that is descended from a specific ancestor; an offspring.
something deriving in appearance, function, or general character from an earlier form.
an adherent who follows closely the teachings, methods, practices, etc., of an earlier master, as in art, music, philosophy, etc.; disciple.
  1. the point opposite the ascendant.
  2. the point of the ecliptic or the sign and degree of the zodiac setting below the western horizon at the time of a birth or of an event.
  3. the cusp of the seventh house.


Origin of descendant

1425–75; late Middle English descendaunt (adj.) < Old French descendant, present participle of descendre. See descend, -ant
Can be confusedancestor descendant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for descendant

Contemporary Examples of descendant

Historical Examples of descendant

  • "Jock of Norfolk" is represented by a descendant of noble impulses.

  • It was nothing—only the quip of a witty fellow, descendant of a Spanish freebooter.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Algernon Sidney, beheaded on Tower Hill, was his descendant.

  • Imagine the look he would bestow on his descendant as I sat down to table.

    Sir Jasper Carew

    Charles James Lever

  • With Cyrus, the descendant of Achæmenes, the real history of Persia begins.

    Les Parsis

    D. Menant

British Dictionary definitions for descendant



a person, animal, or plant when described as descended from an individual, race, species, etc
something that derives or is descended from an earlier form


a variant spelling of descendent



astrology the point on the ecliptic lying directly opposite the Ascendant
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 descendant

mid-15c. (adj.), c.1600 (n.), from French descendant (13c.), present participle of descendre (see descend). Despite a tendency to use descendent for the adjective and descendant for the noun, descendant seems to be prevailing in all uses and appears 5 times more often than its rival in books printed since 1900. Cf. dependant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper