9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dih-sen-duh nt] /dɪˈsɛn dənt/
a person or animal that is descended from a specific ancestor; an offspring.
something deriving in appearance, function, or general character from an earlier form.
an adherent who follows closely the teachings, methods, practices, etc., of an earlier master, as in art, music, philosophy, etc.; disciple.
  1. the point opposite the ascendant.
  2. the point of the ecliptic or the sign and degree of the zodiac setting below the western horizon at the time of a birth or of an event.
  3. the cusp of the seventh house.
Origin of descendant
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English descendaunt (adj.) < Old French descendant, present participle of descendre. See descend, -ant
Can be confused
ancestor, descendant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for descendants
  • It was an act of generosity and faith in the future good will of their descendants.
  • descendants of the unconquered groups still live there today.
  • Most paleontologists now believe living birds are descendants of certain predatory dinosaurs.
  • And the boomers' descendants may have more cash but they are also likely to face far higher costs.
  • It seems the world of dinosaurs-and bird ancestors-was as diverse as that of their latter-day descendants.
  • But many species survived and evolved into their modern descendants.
  • It is unlikely that any of their descendants still live here.
  • The descendants of the stragglers can be seen today, out-breeding and out-warring each other.
  • Seen up close, the whooping crane leaves little doubt that birds are descendants of dinosaurs.
  • If this generation does not tackle climate change, its descendants will not think much of it.
British Dictionary definitions for descendants


a person, animal, or plant when described as descended from an individual, race, species, etc
something that derives or is descended from an earlier form
a variant spelling of descendent


(astrology) the point on the ecliptic lying directly opposite the Ascendant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for descendants


mid-15c. (adj.), c.1600 (n.), from French descendant (13c.), present participle of descendre (see descend). Despite a tendency to use descendent for the adjective and descendant for the noun, descendant seems to be prevailing in all uses and appears 5 times more often than its rival in books printed since 1900. Cf. dependant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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