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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a steep descent (=a steep journey, slope, or path downwards)
▪ the steep descent into the beautiful Farndale Valley
claim descent (=say that you are related to someone important who lived a long time ago)
▪ He claimed descent from Beethoven.
▪ Then follows a long descent along a forest avenue to Loch Maree.
▪ The engines continue to burn and the shuttle starts a slow 2 minute long descent back to Earth.
▪ For the Conservatives it was the start of the long descent towards the agony of Black Wednesday.
▪ Our Czech hosts knew little about it, save that the approach was long and the descent intricate.
▪ They made a long, unhurried descent.
▪ On the slow descent to Bristol airport a creature had attached itself to one of the wings.
▪ The tracks took him down a constant and slow descent then stopped at an old fence.
▪ If the model is set up correctly, it should make a steep descent under full control.
▪ The Robinson 22 light helicopter was on an auto-gyration practice flight when the tail rotor touched the ground during a steep descent.
▪ The plane had gone into a steep descent and an explosion ripped the air.
▪ None the less the fact remains that the presence of descent groups tells us nothing directly about domestic organization.
▪ Some primates live in patrilineal rather than matrilineal descent groups.
▪ There is a lot of evidence that such internal restrictions occur in all the accounts of descent groups amassed by anthropologists.
▪ This is a political system based on descent groups and the kinship and marriage ties that link them.
▪ In patrilineal descent groups, he argued, the individual family and private property were prominent and the communal principle already moribund.
▪ Confessional status had become the basis for an exclusive descent group.
▪ He noticed the change of pitch in the engine noise and the slight tilt of the aircraft as it began its descent.
▪ Some one hit the down button and the Oval once again began its forty-foot descent into the earth.
▪ Slowly, he shook his head once or twice, and then began to make the descent.
▪ And waited in rage and self-recrimination as the elevator began its irrevocable descent?
▪ The aircraft had begun its descent to Houston Intercontinental Airport when it disappeared from radar screens.
▪ He had two options, he thought, as the plane began the descent to Brussels.
▪ We inched up over the ridge and began our descent on to the high, tree-stippled plateau of far western Chihuahua.
▪ Like the outbound leg, if you lose timing don't continue the descent.
▪ Without a working budget, or a viable rescue plan, the organization continued its disastrous descent into the financial sinkhole.
▪ Otherwise there have been two possibilities which effectively continue the lines of descent from Hegelian historicism and the history of science.
▪ The leak forced a controlled descent of the giant balloon about 250 kilometres to the west of the launch site.
▪ Moreover, he could control his descent, and could come down slower or quicker as he wished.
▪ The presidential plane was making its final descent.
▪ I lined up on the general area and made a gentle descent into the darkness.
▪ Slowly, he shook his head once or twice, and then began to make the descent.
▪ There was a fair wind spattering them with rain as they made their descent to the beach.
▪ If the model is set up correctly, it should make a steep descent under full control.
▪ He also made his first descent from a balloon by parachute.
▪ The Chief has just made the descent into blindness-Mariama is shocked when he doesn't respond to my outstretched hand.
▪ Since buying the cottage, house prices had started on a steady descent.
▪ The journey always starts with the endless descent to the street.
▪ He knew they'd be starting their descent in another five minutes.
▪ I started my descent about a mile away and a thousand feet high.
▪ Steadily it turned, gradually gaining speed when he started his descent and gravity took over.
▪ a slippery descent
▪ Passengers said the cabin shook violently during the plane's descent.
▪ He had circulated a document which professed to trace his descent, through his father, from the Prophet.
▪ People in trance often begin their journeys by experiencing a descent through a downward tunnel.
▪ The engineers used the idea that moulds life itself: descent with modification.
▪ The journey always starts with the endless descent to the street.
▪ We took four hits, and immediately, we went into a rapid descent to elude the machine guns.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Descent \De*scent"\, n. [F. descente, fr. descendre; like vente, from vendre. See Descend.]

  1. The act of descending, or passing downward; change of place from higher to lower.

  2. Incursion; sudden attack; especially, hostile invasion from sea; -- often followed by upon or on; as, to make a descent upon the enemy.

    The United Provinces . . . ordered public prayer to God, when they feared that the French and English fleets would make a descent upon their coasts.

  3. Progress downward, as in station, virtue, as in station, virtue, and the like, from a higher to a lower state, from a higher to a lower state, from the more to the less important, from the better to the worse, etc.

    2. Derivation, as from an ancestor; procedure by generation; lineage; birth; extraction.

    5. (Law) Transmission of an estate by inheritance, usually, but not necessarily, in the descending line; title to inherit an estate by reason of consanguinity.

    6. Inclination downward; a descending way; inclined or sloping surface; declivity; slope; as, a steep descent.

    7. That which is descended; descendants; issue.

    If care of our descent perplex us most, Which must be born to certain woe.

    8. A step or remove downward in any scale of gradation; a degree in the scale of genealogy; a generation.

    No man living is a thousand descents removed from Adam himself.

    9. Lowest place; extreme downward place. [R.]

    And from the extremest upward of thy head, To the descent and dust below thy foot.

    10. (Mus.) A passing from a higher to a lower tone.

    Syn: Declivity; slope; degradation; extraction; lineage; assault; invasion; attack.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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).\n

\nFigurative 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 An instance of descending 2 A way down. 3 A sloping passage or incline. 4 lineage or hereditary derivation 5 A drop to a lower status or condition.

  1. n. a movement downward

  2. properties attributable to your ancestry; "he comes from good origins" [syn: origin, extraction]

  3. the act of changing your location in a downward direction

  4. the kinship relation between an individual and the individual's progenitors [syn: line of descent, lineage, filiation]

  5. a downward slope or bend [syn: declivity, fall, decline, declination, declension, downslope] [ant: ascent]

  6. the descendants of one individual; "his entire lineage has been warriors" [syn: lineage, line, line of descent, bloodline, blood line, blood, pedigree, ancestry, origin, parentage, stemma, stock]


Descent may refer to:

Descent (video game)

Descent is a 3D first-person shooter video game developed by Parallax Software and released by Interplay in Europe in 1995. The game features six degrees of freedom gameplay and garnered several expansion packs, as well as a 1996 port to the PlayStation. A Sega Saturn port was also announced, but later cancelled. The game is set out in the Solar System where the player is cast as the Material Defender, a mercenary hired by the PTMC.

Descent spawned two direct sequels: Descent II in 1996 and Descent 3 in 1999. On April 10, 2015, a prequel titled Descent: Underground was successfully funded on Kickstarter, raising over $600,000 USD through crowdfunding to bring Descent back to the PC with release expected in 2016. In March 2016, Overload was successfully funded on Kickstarter, raising over $300,000 USD through crowdfunding to bring A Spiritual Successor to Descent written and created by the original Descent team. Release expected in 2017.

, Descent had been withdrawn from sale via Good Old Games and Steam due to a dispute between Parallax Software and publisher Interplay.

Descent (mathematics)

In mathematics, the idea of descent extends the intuitive idea of 'gluing' in topology. Since the topologists' glue is actually the use of equivalence relations on topological spaces, the theory starts with some ideas on identification.

Descent (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

__NOTOC__ "Descent" is the 26th episode of the sixth season and the first episode of the seventh season of the American science fiction television seriesStar Trek: The Next Generation, the 152nd and 153rd episodes overall. Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Federation starship Enterprise. The episode features a guest appearance by Stephen Hawking, making it the only episode to feature a guest star appearing as himself on any Trek series.

Descent (The Outer Limits)

"Descent" is an episode of The Outer Limits television show. It first aired on 25 June 1999, during the fifth season.

Descent (2007 film)

Descent is a 2007 American thriller film directed by Talia Lugacy and produced by and starring Rosario Dawson.

Descent (2005 film)

Descent is a 2005 original film on the Sci Fi Channel.

Descent (magazine)

Descent magazine is a bi-monthly British and Irish full-colour print magazine dedicated to caving. It has been in print since 1969, first as a small format magazine and then, from 1977 onwards, in A4 format.

As well as feature articles about the recent international expeditions and the development of caving techniques and equipment, it maintains a network of correspondents in each of the caving regions of the UK and Ireland who report on the latest caving discoveries and changes to access agreements for their area.

The current editor, Chris Howes, began work on the magazine in 1988 and bought it from its previous publisher, Gloster Publications, in 1998.

Descent (aeronautics)

A descent during air travel is any portion where an aircraft decreases altitude, and is the opposite of an ascent or climb.

Descents are part of normal procedures, but also occur during emergencies, such as rapid or explosive decompression, forcing an emergency descent to below and preferably below , respectively the maximum temporary safe altitude for an unpressurized aircraft and the maximum safe altitude for extended duration.

An example of explosive decompression is Aloha Airlines Flight 243. Involuntary descent might occur from a decrease in power, decreased lift (wing icing), an increase in drag, or flying in an air mass moving downward, such as a terrain induced downdraft, near a thunderstorm, in a downburst, or microburst.

Descent (song)

"Descent" is a single by American heavy metal band Fear Factory from their album Obsolete. It was the third single released and the fifth track on the album. The music was composed by guitarist Dino Cazares and drummer Raymond Herrera, with lyrics by Burton C. Bell. In the storyline of Obsolete's concept, "Descent" expresses the despair felt by the album's protagonist, the dissident Edgecrusher, as he rests briefly on his flight from the pursuing forces of Securitron. He questions the worth of his personal mission; in the end, he decides to continue his fight against his oppressors.

"Descent" peaked at number 38 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

Usage examples of "descent".

I petitioned for a cup of chill aconite, My descent to awful Hades had been soft, for now must I go With the curse by father Zeus cast on ambition immoderate.

On my view of characters being of real importance for classification, only in so far as they reveal descent, we can clearly understand why analogical or adaptive character, although of the utmost importance to the welfare of the being, are almost valueless to the systematist.

Honorius ambitiously derived their descent from the heroes who had repulsed the arms of Hannibal, and subdued the nations of the earth.

The descent was accomplished with a minimum of noise, and even Amity managed to creep through the shrubbery without attracting the keen ears of the watchdogs.

According to some documents given to me by Count Antal Sigray, a representative of the opposition party, Bela Imredy is of Jewish descent, and he asked me to publish those.

Tombstone kept his descent constant at five hundred feet per minute and relied on the advice of the LSO, a veteran aviator with a much better perspective on the approach than Magruder had himself, to keep him on track.

Susan Bates immediately squared her shoulders, banished all expression from her face, and began the descent of the steps with her eyes fixed upon the gaps in the broken building line over the way.

It flailed and bawled and could not rise from its burden, and it remained a sobering example of a misstep until they could make the long descent and deal with it.

Bearing in mind that about seventy years ago two great political parties were first formed in this country, that Thomas Jefferson was the head of one of them and Boston the headquarters of the other, it is both curious and interesting that those supposed to descend politically from the party opposed to Jefferson should now be celebrating his birthday in their own original seat of empire, while those claiming political descent from him have nearly ceased to breathe his name everywhere.

Looking to geographical distribution, if we admit that there has been during the long course of ages much migration from one part of the world to another, owing to former climatal and geographical changes and to the many occasional and unknown means of dispersal, then we can understand, on the theory of descent with modification, most of the great leading facts in Distribution.

After a long ascent through a region of light, peaty soil, wooded with pine, cryptomeria, and scrub oak, a long descent and a fine avenue terminate in Shinjo, a wretched town of over 5000 people, situated in a plain of ricefields.

The descent to Innai under an avenue of cryptomeria, and the village itself, shut in with the rushing Omono, are very beautiful.

Darwin denied design, so neither can it be doubted that Paley denied descent with modification.

To the corresponding cupboard, on the other side of the fire, which had lost a corner by the descent of the roof, Mr Cupples now dragged his slippers, feeling in his waistcoat pocket, as he went, for the key.

I thought him a very fine actor indeed, but now I realize that he was of the line that descended from Irving, in which descent all the beauty and diablerie of that great player had been lost, and only the mannerisms -- grunting, eye-flashing, and gnawing the nether lip -- remained.