Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: descendre, from Latin scandere 'to climb'

descend

verb
     
de‧scend
1 [intransitive and transitive] formal to move from a higher level to a lower one [≠ ascend]:
Our plane started to descend.
I heard his footsteps descending the stairs.
descend to/from/into etc
The path continues for some way before descending to Garsdale Head.
! It is more usual to say go down or come down.
2 [intransitive] literaryTMC if darkness, silence, a feeling etc descends, it becomes dark etc or you start to feel something, especially suddenly
descend on/upon/over
Total silence descended on the room.
An air of gloom descended over the party headquarters.
3

in descending order (of something)

numbers, choices etc that are in descending order are arranged from the highest or most important to the lowest or least important:
The hotels are listed in descending order of price.

descend from somebody/something

phrasal verb
1

be descended from somebody

SSF to be related to a person or group who lived a long time ago:
She claims to be descended from Abraham Lincoln.
The people here are descended from the Vikings.
2 to have developed from something that existed in the past:
ideas that descend from those of ancient philosophers

descend on/upon somebody/something

phrasal verb
if a large number of people descend on a person or a place, they come to visit or stay, especially when they are not very welcome:
Millions of tourists descend on the area every year.

descend to something

phrasal verb
to behave or speak in an unpleasant way, which is not the way you usually behave:
Surely he wouldn't descend to such a mean trick?
descend to somebody's level (=behave or speak as badly as someone else)
Other people may gossip, but don't descend to their level.

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