Definition of descent noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//dɪˈsent//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈsent//
    (formal) Family background
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  1. 1[countable, usually singular] an action of coming or going down The plane began its descent to Heathrow. (figurative) the country’s swift descent into anarchy opposite ascent
  2. 2[countable] a slope going downwards There is a gradual descent to the sea. opposite ascent
  3. 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 Stuart kings. See related entries: Family background
  4. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French descente, from descendre ‘to descend’, from Latin descendere, from de- ‘down’ + scandere ‘to climb’.Extra examples Humans and other apes followed separate lines of descent from a common ancestor. I made a slow and painful descent down the stairs. Most European languages have a common descent. She claims direct descent from Queen Victoria. She is Hungarian by descent. She is of mixed European and African descent. The engines failed on the plane’s descent to Newark. The plane began its gentle descent to Heathrow. The plane was making its final descent so we had to fasten our seat belts. The space capsule used parachutes to slow its descent. They began the difficult descent of the mountain’s south face. We slowed the balloon’s rate of descent. groups sharing common descent his descent into alcoholism the descent from the top of the mountain people of West Indian descent
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: descent