descent









descent


noun

  1. the act, process, or fact of moving from a higher to a lower position.
  2. a downward inclination or slope.
  3. a passage or stairway leading down.
  4. derivation from an ancestor; lineage; extraction.
  5. any passing from higher to lower in degree or state; decline.
  6. a sudden raid or hostile attack.
  7. Law. transmission of real property by intestate succession.

noun

  1. the act of descending
  2. a downward slope or inclination
  3. a passage, path, or way leading downwards
  4. derivation from an ancestor or ancestral group; lineage
  5. (in genealogy) a generation in a particular lineage
  6. a decline or degeneration
  7. a movement or passage in degree or state from higher to lower
  8. (often foll by on) a sudden and overwhelming arrival or attack
  9. property law (formerly) the transmission of real property to the heir on an intestacy
n.

c.1300, from Old French descente “descent, descendance, lineage,” formed from descendre (see descend) on analogy of French nouns such as attente from attendre “to expect,” vente “sale” from vendre “to sell,” pente “slope” from pendre “to hang” (the etymological English word from Latin would be *descence).

Figurative use is from late 14c. Meaning “action of descending,” also “a downward slope” is from 1590s. Meaning “act of descending from an ancestor” is from mid-14c. Evolutionary sense is from 1859 in Darwin, though there are uses which suggest essentially the same thing going back to 1630s.

n.

  1. The process of descending or falling down from a higher position.
  2. The passage of the presenting part of the fetus into and through the birth canal.

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