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descendant Syllabification: de·scend·ant
Pronunciation: /dəˈsendənt/

Definition of descendant in English:


1A person, plant, or animal that is descended from a particular ancestor: Shakespeare’s last direct descendant
More example sentences
  • Most biologists consider it the direct descendant of the ancestor of the domesticated two-humped species.
  • People also expect the deceased to maintain interest in their descendants, as ancestral spirits.
  • Some of the plaintiffs are direct descendants of those early settlers.
successor, scion;
(descendantsoffspring, progeny, family, lineage;
Law  issue
archaic seed, fruit of one's loins
1.1A machine, artifact, system, etc., that has developed from an earlier, more rudimentary version.
Example sentences
  • The project is a direct descendant of the Learning Design Tools project and other predecessor projects in the E-learning and Pedagogy programme.
  • An argument can be made that since so many Cajun pioneers copied the Creole accordionist that Cajun music is a descendant of Creole music. But that's another column.
  • The internet is not the descendant of the telephone, nor has it replaced it.


The correct spelling for the noun meaning ‘person descended from a particular ancestor’ is descendant, ending with the suffix -ant, not -ent (as in she claims to be a descendant of Paul Revere). The word descendent is an adjective, now used almost exclusively in scientific contexts, meaning ‘descending from an ancestor’ (as in extinct species are replaced by descendent species). Almost 15 percent of the citations for the noun in the Oxford English Corpus use the wrong spelling.


Late Middle English (as an adjective in the sense 'descending'): from French, present participle of descendre 'to descend' (see descend). The noun dates from the early 17th century.

Words that rhyme with descendant

appendant, ascendant, attendant, codependent, defendant, descendent, intendant, interdependent, pendant, pendent, splendent, superintendent, transcendent
Definition of descendant in:
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