|Origin:||descendre, from Latin scandere 'to climb'|
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! It is more usual to say go down or come down.
The path continues for some way before descending to Garsdale Head.
2 [intransitive] literaryTMC
if darkness, silence, a feeling etc descends, it becomes dark etc or you start to feel something, especially suddenly
Total silence descended on the room.
An air of gloom descended over the party headquarters.
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/somethingphrasal verb
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.
to have developed from something that existed in the past:
ideas that descend from those of ancient philosophers
descend on/upon somebody/somethingphrasal verb
Millions of tourists descend on the area every year.
descend to somethingphrasal verb
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.