- 1 [countable, usually singular] an action of coming or going down The plane began its descent to JFK. (figurative) the country's swift descent into anarchy opposite ascent
- 2 [countable] a slope going downward There is a gradual descent to the ocean. opposite ascent
- 3[uncountable] a person's family origins synonym ancestry to be of Scottish descent descent from somebody He traces his line of descent from the Mayflower Pilgrims.