Descendant | Definition of Descendant by Merriam-Webster

descendant

adjective
de·​scen·​dant | \ di-ˈsen-dənt How to pronounce descendant (audio) \
variants: or less commonly descendent

Definition of descendant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : moving or directed downward listed in descendant order
2 : proceeding from an ancestor or source

descendant

noun
variants: or less commonly descendent

Definition of descendant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one originating or coming from an ancestral stock or source : one descended from another descendants of King David a descendant of an ancient grass
2 : one deriving directly from a precursor or prototype Italian and other descendants of Latin

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Synonyms & Antonyms for descendant

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Did You Know?

Descendant is the opposite of ancestor. Your grandparents' descendants are those who are descended from them—your parents, your brothers and sisters, and any children that any of you may have. It's been claimed that every person on earth is a descendant of Muhammad, and of every historical person before him—Julius Caesar, the Buddha, etc.—who started a line of descent. (Some of us still find this hard to believe.) And not all descendants are human; every modern thesaurus, for example, could be called the descendant of the one devised by Peter Mark Roget in 1852.

Examples of descendant in a Sentence

Adjective the descendant branches of a weeping willow Noun One of the famous inventor's descendants is also an inventor. Many people in this area are descendants of German immigrants. Recent evidence supports the theory that birds are the modern descendants of dinosaurs. The Italian language is one of Latin's descendants.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Reaching for disco—and its descendant rave-inspiring subgenres—may appear to be a safe bet for a sonic reset. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "How Disco Defined 2020," 23 Dec. 2020 In 2009, facing an investigation over discrimination, organizers signed an agreement with public prosecutors requiring 10% of models to be Black, Afro-descendant or Indigenous. David Biller And Mauricio Savarese, Star Tribune, "Fashion-forward: Affirmative action hits Brazil's runways," 8 Nov. 2020 The measure would provide federal recognition for these locations and help collect information on them, which would be useful for descendant communities and developers alike. Popular Science, "In Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley,’ a Black community battles an industry that threatens its health—and history," 17 Nov. 2020 Giana Han reports Auburn University this week sent out a statement asking fans not to wrap the two Auburn Oaks and 10 descendant trees at Toomer’s Corner in toilet paper this season. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Auburn football fan guide for 2020 home game against LSU," 30 Oct. 2020 Giana Han reports Auburn University this week sent out a statement asking fans not to wrap the two Auburn Oaks and 10 descendant trees at Toomer’s Corner in toilet paper this season. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Auburn football fan guide for 2020 home game against LSU," 30 Oct. 2020 That sign also includes images of Tubman and her local descendant Ernestine Jones-Williams, who attended the grove’s dedication ceremony in 2018. Christine Condon, Washington Post, "In Baltimore, Harriet Tubman honored where Confederate statues once stood," 19 Sep. 2020 Giana Han reports Auburn University this week sent out a statement asking fans not to wrap the two Auburn Oaks and 10 descendant trees at Toomer’s Corner in toilet paper this season. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Auburn fan guide for 2020 home game against Arkansas," 9 Oct. 2020 That sign also includes images of Tubman and her local descendant Ernestine Jones-Williams, who attended the grove’s dedication ceremony in 2018. Christine Condon, Washington Post, "In Baltimore, Harriet Tubman honored where Confederate statues once stood," 19 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As a writer, Robinson is a direct descendant of Frost, carrying on his tradition of careful, democratic observations of this country’s landscapes and its people, perpetually keeping one eye on the eternal and the other on the everyday. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, "Marilynne Robinson’s Essential American Stories," 25 Sep. 2020 Dan Milbridge is a descendant of Bois Forte Band of Chippewa and the director of Bois Forte Health and Human Services. Star Tribune, "American Indians in Minnesota experience worse COVID impacts than reported," 15 Dec. 2020 Dayton is a descendant of George Draper Dayton, who, in 1902, founded the Dayton Dry Goods Company — today known as Target. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Former Minnesota governor marries campaign aide 41 years his junior," 7 Dec. 2020 Biden, the descendant of Irish immigrants, has promised to shred Trump’s executive orders on asylum, seek a path to legal residency for millions living in the shadows and restore the United States’ core identity as a nation of immigrants. Nick Miroff, Washington Post, "Biden plans to spurn Trump immigration restrictions, but risk of new border crisis looms," 2 Dec. 2020 One descendant of that family, Peggy Josserand, usually produces Reblochon, a soft and highly perishable fermier cheese. Popular Science, "When specialty cheesemaking becomes a quarantine pastime," 1 Dec. 2020 Darron Patterson is a descendant of Kupollee, one of the people who were brought over on the Clotilda 140 years ago. Connor Sheets | Csheets@al.com, al, "‘60 Minutes’ to feature Clotilda descendants in Mobile’s Africatown," 26 Nov. 2020 As for the Yanceys, at least one descendant lived in Edina into the 1960s. Erin Adler, Star Tribune, "Edina renames park to honor Black pioneer family," 9 Oct. 2020 Christian Taylor-Johnson, 28, is a descendant of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in northern Minnesota, and attended Leech Lake Tribal College. Brett Anderson, New York Times, "The Thanksgiving Myth Gets a Deeper Look This Year," 17 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'descendant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of descendant

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1569, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for descendant

Adjective

Middle English dessendaunte, from Anglo-French descendant, from Latin descendent-, descendens, present participle of descendere — see descend

Noun

French & Latin; French descendant, from Late Latin descendent-, descendens, from Latin

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Time Traveler for descendant

Time Traveler

The first known use of descendant was in the 15th century

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Statistics for descendant

Last Updated

26 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Descendant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/descendant. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for descendant

descendant

noun

English Language Learners Definition of descendant

: someone who is related to a person or group of people who lived in the past
: a plant or animal that is related to a particular plant or animal that lived long ago
: something that developed from another thing that was made or existed earlier

descendant

noun
de·​scen·​dant | \ di-ˈsen-dənt How to pronounce descendant (audio) \

Kids Definition of descendant

1 : someone related to a person or group of people who lived at an earlier time
2 : a thing that comes from something that existed at an earlier time

descendant

noun
de·​scen·​dant
variants: also descendent \ di-​ˈsen-​dənt \

Legal Definition of descendant

: a blood relative of a later generation

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Comments on descendant

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