1. 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 opposite of ascend. "The rain descended, and the floods came." (Matt. Vii. 25) "We will here descend to matters of later date." (Fuller)

2. To enter mentally; to retire. "[He] with holiest meditations fed, Into himself descended." (Milton)

3. 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. 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. To pass from the more general or important to the particular or less important matters to be considered.

6. 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. <anatomy> To move toward the south, or to the southward.

8. To fall in pitch; to pass from a higher to a lower tone.

Origin: F. Descendre, L. Descendere, descensum; de- + scandere to climb. See Scan.

(01 Mar 1998)

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