From Middle English decenden, borrowed from Old French descendre, from Latin descendere, past participle descensus (“to come down, go down, fall, sink”), from de- (“down”) + scandere (“to climb”). See scan, scandent. Compare ascend, condescend, transcend.
- (intransitive) To pass from a higher to a lower place; to move downwards; to come or go down in any way, as by falling, flowing, walking, etc.; to plunge; to fall; to incline downward
- (intransitive, poetic) To enter mentally; to retire.
- 1671, John Milton, “Book the Second”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], OCLC 228732398:
- [He] with holiest meditations fed, Into himself descended.
- (intransitive, with on or upon) To make an attack, or incursion, as if from a vantage ground; to come suddenly and with violence.
- And on the suitors let thy wrath descend. (Can we date this quote by Alexander Pope?)
- (intransitive) To come down to a lower, less fortunate, humbler, less virtuous, or worse, state or station; to lower or abase oneself
- he descended from his high estate
- (intransitive) To pass from the more general or important to the particular or less important matters to be considered.
- (intransitive) To come down, as from a source, original, or stock; to be derived; to proceed by generation or by transmission; to fall or pass by inheritance.
- the beggar may descend from a prince
- a crown descends to the heir
- (intransitive, astronomy) To move toward the south, or to the southward.
- (intransitive, music) To fall in pitch; to pass from a higher to a lower tone.
- (transitive) To go down upon or along; to pass from a higher to a lower part of
- they descended the river in boats; to descend a ladder
- But never tears his cheek descended. (Can we date this quote by Byron?)