Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
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
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.

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

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.

Dictionary results for "descend"
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