- To descend is defined as to go downward, to become lower in pitch, reaching an undesirable state or can refer to a surprise attack or unwelcome visit.
- An example of descend is when a plane starts to move down or descend before landing.
- An example of descend is when a hill goes in a downward direction.
- An example of descend is when a musician starts to lower his voice and sing deeper notes.
- An example of descend is when you slip into being insane.
- An example of descend is when a party gets out of control and turns into chaos.
- An example of descend is when your in-laws show up at your house for a surprise visit.
A woman descending some stairs.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- to move from a higher to a lower place; come down or go down
- to pass from an earlier to a later time, from greater to less, from general to particular, etc.
- to slope or extend downward
- to come down (from a source, as from an ancestor): usually with auxiliary be: he is descended from pioneers
- to pass by inheritance or heredity: the estate descended to the nephew
- to lower oneself or stoop (to some act)
- to make a sudden attack, raid, or visit (on or upon)
- Astron. to move toward the horizon
- Music to move down the scale
Origin: Middle English descenden ; from Old French descendre ; from Classical Latin descendere, to climb down, fall ; from de-, down plush scandere, to climb ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Indo-European base an unverified form skend-, an unverified form skand-, to leap from source Classical Greek skandalon (from source scandal), Sanskrit Skandati, (he) leaps
- descendible adjective
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb de·scend·ed, de·scend·ing, de·scends verb, intransitive
- To move from a higher to a lower place; come or go down.
- To slope, extend, or incline downward: “A rough path descended like a steep stair into the plain” (J.R.R. Tolkien).
- a. To come from an ancestor or ancestry: He was descended from a pioneer family.b. To come down from a source; derive: a tradition descending from colonial days.c. To pass by inheritance: The house has descended through four generations.
- To lower oneself; stoop: “She, the conqueror, had descended to the level of the conquered” (James Bryce).
- To proceed or progress downward, as in rank, pitch, or scale: titles listed in descending order of importance; notes that descended to the lower register.
- To arrive or attack in a sudden or an overwhelming manner: summer tourists descending on the seashore village.
- a. To move from a higher to a lower part of; go down.b. To get down from: “People descended the minibus that shuttled guests to the nearby . . . beach” (Howard Kaplan).
- To extend or proceed downward along: a road that descended the mountain in sharp curves.
Origin: Middle English descenden, from Old French descendre, from Latin dēscendere : dē-, de- + scandere, to climb; see skand- in Indo-European roots.
- de·scendˈi·ble, de·scendˈa·ble adjective