View synonyms for descent


[ dih-sent ]


  1. the act, process, or fact of moving from a higher to a lower position.

    Synonyms: drop, fall

  2. a downward inclination or slope.

    Synonyms: slant, declivity, grade, decline

  3. a passage or stairway leading down.
  4. derivation from an ancestor; lineage; extraction.

    Synonyms: origin, parentage, ancestry

  5. any passing from higher to lower in degree or state; decline.

    Synonyms: downturn, contraction, decline, plunge, drop, decrease

  6. a sudden raid or hostile attack.

    Synonyms: incursion, raid, foray, assault

  7. Law. transmission of real property by intestate succession.


/ dɪˈsɛnt /


  1. the act of descending
  2. a downward slope or inclination
  3. a passage, path, or way leading downwards
  4. derivation from an ancestor or ancestral group; lineage
  5. (in genealogy) a generation in a particular lineage
  6. a decline or degeneration
  7. a movement or passage in degree or state from higher to lower
  8. often foll by on a sudden and overwhelming arrival or attack
  9. property law (formerly) the transmission of real property to the heir on an intestacy

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Other Words From

  • prede·scent noun
  • rede·scent noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of descent1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English, from Anglo-French, Old French descente, derivative of descendre “to come down,” modeled on such pairs as vente, vendre; descend
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Example Sentences

While the competitor goggles performed just fine, Tate and I both preferred the Julbos so much that we bickered at 12,850 feet over who would get to wear them on the descent.

The descent is a gentle one via the via the South Ridge and Canon Brook Trails, which afford ocean views much of the way.

If you’re in a neutral state of mind, you can recognize the descent into the conspiracy theories, and the inability to acknowledge the facts of the situation.

From Vox

About three minutes after lifting off, it leveled off at an altitude of about 10,000 to 11,000 feet for almost a minute before a rapid descent to the water in just 14 seconds, according to Flightradar24’s tracking data.

From Fortune

McClain’s time aboard the ISS spanned from December 2018 to June of 2019, meaning her ascent and descent were both aboard Russia’s Soyuz capsules, as astronauts have gotten to and from space since the Shuttle days.

The feisty airline is the brainchild of entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, a Malaysian of Indian descent who also is a British citizen.

But then the summit gives way to the other side of the hill, and a childlike glee arises from the whooooosh of the descent.

His sadness over her descent into shooting up after managing to stay clean for a period is palpable.

This descent and all of its trials serve as metaphors for the brutal task of breaking the chains of guilt, fear, and doubt.

Aristotle is not typically remembered as the father of naturalists, but Darwin acknowledged a line of intellectual descent.

We dismounted, and speedily found that MacRae hadn't exaggerated the evil qualities of that descent.

He made a violent assault against the nation of his enemies, and in the descent he destroyed the adversaries.

We followed the upland past the end of the Stone till we found a slope that didn't require wings for descent.

Massed on the plateau above the mule-path, the whole population of the village stood to watch them down the steep descent.

But hail shall be in the descent of the forest, and the city shall be made very low.


Related Words

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Descent Vs. Dissent Vs. Decent

What’s the difference between descent, dissent, and decent?

Descent is a noun that means the act of moving downward (descending), a downward movement, or downward movement in general. Dissent can be a noun meaning disagreement, as in I voiced my dissent, or a verb meaning to disagree, as in The judge is expected to dissent. Decent is an adjective that means adequate or suitable, as in a decent meal, or good or respectable, as in a decent person.

Descent and dissent are pronounced exactly the same. Perhaps the best way to remember the difference between them is to think about what related words mean and how they’re spelled. Words related to descent involve movement and are spelled with sc, including descend, ascent, ascension, and transcend. Words related to dissent involve agreement or disagreement and end with -sent, including assent and consent.

Despite their similar spelling, descent and decent are pronounced differently. In descent, the emphasis is on the -scent part of the word, with the first part pronounced like dih. In decent, the emphasis is on the first part of the word, which is pronounced like dee.

So how can you remember which one gets the s? Dropping the s is the decent thing to do, but you should pick it back up for your descent. (And if you dissent, pick up two s’s).

Here’s an example of descent, dissent, and decent used correctly in a sentence.

Example: There was dissent among the climbers about when they should make the descent, but they decided to do it while the weather was still decent.

Quiz yourself on descent vs. dissent!

Should descent, dissent, or decent be used in the following sentence?

The plane’s rapid _____ was caused by a faulty engine.