Definition of descend in English:

descend

Syllabification: de·scend
Pronunciation: /diˈsend
 
/

verb

[no object]
1Move or fall downward: the aircraft began to descend
More example sentences
  • Caroline leapt out of the van as heavy rain began to descend.
  • Huge drops of falling rain descended from the heavy clouds above.
  • Doors slid silently closed behind him and he began to descend.
Synonyms
1.1 [with object] Move down (a slope or stairs): the vehicle descended a ramp
More example sentences
  • The problem presents as anterior knee pain, which is worse after prolonged sitting with the knee flexed, or on climbing or descending stairs or slopes.
  • John Henry is speaking to an acquaintance in the lobby and a beautiful young woman, followed closely behind by a companion, is descending the stairs.
  • A young woman descends the stairs from a low, curtained gallery to hand a sheet of music to a cellist waiting downstairs.
Synonyms
climb down, go down, come down
1.2(Of stairs, a road or path, or a piece of land) be on a slope or incline and extend downward: a side road descended into the forest [with object]: a narrow flight of stairs descended a steep slope
More example sentences
  • Angel walked the hallways without trouble until she turned at the right hallway and saw several flights of steps descending before her.
  • Broad flights of steps descended directly into the azure water.
  • She pushed a button, and a large flight of stairs descended from the ship to the ground.
Synonyms
slope, dip, slant, go down, fall away
1.3Come or go down a scale, especially from the superior to the inferior: (as adjective descending) the categories are listed in descending order of usefulness
More example sentences
  • You can also choose to display from 10 to 100 items per page, in descending or ascending order.
  • You can then decide on posting order: whether alphabetically or by date, ascending or descending.
  • This will either sort the list ascending or descending.
1.4 Music (Of sound) become lower in pitch: (as adjective descending) a passage of descending chords
More example sentences
  • The implied connection between ‘cadence’ and falling is most explicitly realized in music where a melodic line descends conclusively to the modal final or tonal tonic.
  • The first descending row of chords is just magic, raising the little hairs on the back of a listener's neck.
  • By the end of ‘Cromosomi’, with its tricky harmonic sequence that descends in semitones, he had the audience in the palm of his hand.
1.5 (descend to) Act in a specified shameful way that is far below one’s usual standards: she descended to self-pity
More example sentences
  • Politics now dominates - and the level of civility descends to new lows.
  • Sometimes the physical instincts are elevated to a spiritual level and often the spiritual being descends to a baser life.
  • Anyone who descends to such cheap jibes with nothing more substantial to say is just making himself ridiculous.
Synonyms
stoop, lower oneself, demean oneself, debase oneself; resort, be reduced
1.6 (descend into) (Of a situation or group of people) reach (a state considered undesirable or shameful): the army had descended into chaos
More example sentences
  • With the onset of the reforms, the power situation in the State descended into chaos.
  • However the situation soon descends into something more sinister.
  • The situation has now descended into farce as the row rumbles on.
Synonyms
degenerate, deteriorate, decline, sink, slide, fall
2 (descend on/upon) Make a sudden attack on: the militia descended on Rye
More example sentences
  • When we began to make speeches the riot police descended on us and started attacking people, throwing tear gas everywhere.
  • In the single worst incident, attackers descended on the village.
  • I knew that they were far stronger than I was, and that if I did not do something, the other attackers would descend upon me in a moment.
2.1Make an unexpected and typically unwelcome visit to: treasure-seekers descended upon the site
More example sentences
  • One week, the Prime Minister descends on the town to visit the office of a training company.
  • Eight friends came to visit and descended on my living room.
  • He was visiting his children when federal agents descended upon his ex-wife's house and took him away in handcuffs.
Synonyms
come in force on/upon, arrive in hordes on; attack, assail, assault, storm, invade, swoop (down) on, charge
2.2(Of a feeling or atmosphere) develop suddenly and be felt throughout a place or by a person or group of people: an air of gloom descended on the Democratic Party headquarters
More example sentences
  • My depression descends on me really suddenly, and… when I am there I can't… move… within it.
  • A thick tension descended on them suddenly as their eyes locked.
  • I'm not sure if it was because of the laughing or because of the sudden depression that descended upon me.
2.3(Of night or darkness) begin to occur: as the winter darkness descended, the fighting ceased
More example sentences
  • It was now a matter of time before the moonless darkness of night descended.
  • During autumn and winter, darkness descends at about 4pm and the area dies once children have left the two local schools.
  • Darkness was beginning to descend and it was time for the happy couple to make the long journey home again where Mick's plan was to have a few pints in his local before closing time.
3 (be descended from) Be a direct blood relative of (a specified, typically illustrious ancestor): she is descended from Charles II
More example sentences
  • The findings show that more than 95 percent of dogs in this group were descended from three original female ancestors.
  • This character is common to all animals as the result of their being descended from a common multicellular ancestor that also possessed this character.
  • White hart deer graze the lawns, said to be descended from two white harts given by Elizabeth 1 to her god-child.
Synonyms
be a descendant of, originate from, issue from, spring from, derive from
3.1(Of an asset) pass by inheritance, typically from parent to child: his lands descended to his eldest son
More example sentences
  • Heathcliff dies intestate, the property descends - as it should - to the young lovers, and the two great houses revert to their dynastic owners.
  • In accordance with Colonel Brooke's will, her property descended to her daughter, whose husband thus became possessed of a respectable income
  • He remarried, and after his own death in 1556, his property descended to his son William.
Synonyms
be handed down, be passed down; be inherited by

Origin

Middle English: from Old French descendre, from Latin descendere, from de- 'down' + scandere 'to climb'.

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