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A person is never happy till their vague strivings has itself marked out its proper limitations.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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Part or all of this page has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.


From French descendre, Latin descendere, descensum; de- + scandere (meaning to climb). See scan.



to descend

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to descend (third-person singular simple present -, present participle -, simple past and past participle -)
  1. (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
    The rain descended, and the floods came. Matthew vii. 25.
    We will here descend to matters of later date. Fuller.
  2. (intransitive) To enter mentally; to retire. [Poetic]
    [He] with holiest meditations fed, Into himself descended. Milton.
  3. (intransitive) To make an attack, or incursion, as if from a vantage ground; to come suddenly and with violence; -- with on or upon.
    And on the suitors let thy wrath descend. Pope.
  4. (intransitive) To come down to a lower, less fortunate, humbler, less virtuous, or worse, state or station; to lower or abase one's self; as, he descended from his high estate.
  5. (intransitive) To pass from the more general or important to the particular or less important matters to be considered.
  6. (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; as, the beggar may descend from a prince; a crown descends to the heir.
  7. (intransitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To move toward the south, or to the southward.
  8. (intransitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To fall in pitch; to pass from a higher to a lower tone.
  9. (transitive) To go down upon or along; to pass from a higher to a lower part of; as, they descended the river in boats; to descend a ladder.
    But never tears his cheek descended. Byron.

Derived terms

Related terms





  1. Third-person singular present indicative of descendre.

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