American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


DESCEND, verb intransitive [Latin To climb.]

1. To move or pass from a higher to a lower place; to move, come or go downwards; to fall; to sink; to run or flow down; applicable to any kind of motion or of body. We descend on the feet, on wheels, or by falling. A torrent descends from a mountain.

The rains descended, and the floods came. Matthew 7:25.

2. To go down, or to enter.

He shall descend into battle and perish. Sam. 26.

3. To come suddenly; to fall violently.

And on the suitors let thy wrath descend

4. To go in; to enter.

He, with honest meditations fed, into himself descended.

5. To rush; to invade, as an enemy.

The Grecian fleet descending on the town.

6. To proceed from a source or original; to be derived. The beggar may descend from a prince, and the prince, from a beggar.

7. To proceed, as from father to son; to pass from a preceding possessor, in the order of lineage, or according to the laws of succession or inheritance. Thus, an inheritance descends to the son or next of kin; a crown descends to the heir.

8. To pass from general to particular considerations; as, having explained the general subject, we will descend to particulars.

9. To come down from an elevated or honorable station; in a figurative sense. Flavius is an honorable man; he cannot descend to acts of meanness.

10. In music, to fall in sound; to pass from any note to another less acute or shrill, or from sharp to flat.

DESCEND, verb transitive To walk, move or pass downwards on a declivity; as, to descend a hill; to descend an inclined plain. [But this may be considered as elliptical; on or along being understood.]