[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 descendants

Contemporary Examples of descendants

Historical Examples of descendants

  • The fate of the ancestor had been typical of that of his descendants.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • It is doubtful whether Palaeolithic man has left any descendants.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • Sir, may we know who are the descendants of the New England kidnappers?

    Slavery Ordained of God

    Rev. Fred A. Ross, D.D.

  • Each individual, therefore, continues to live in his descendants.

  • It is our duty to our descendants to contribute as far as is in our power to its accomplishment.

British Dictionary definitions for descendants



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 descendants


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