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4 definitions found
 for descent
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  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.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. Incursion; sudden attack; especially, hostile invasion
        from sea; -- often followed by upon or on; as, to make a
        descent upon the enemy.
        [1913 Webster]
              The United Provinces . . . ordered public prayer to
              God, when they feared that the French and English
              fleets would make a descent upon their coasts.
        [1913 Webster]
     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.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. Derivation, as from an ancestor; procedure by generation;
        lineage; birth; extraction. --Dryden.
        [1913 Webster]
     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. --Abbott.
        [1913 Webster]
     6. Inclination downward; a descending way; inclined or
        sloping surface; declivity; slope; as, a steep descent.
        [1913 Webster]
     7. That which is descended; descendants; issue.
        [1913 Webster]
              If care of our descent perplex us most,
              Which must be born to certain woe.    --Milton.
        [1913 Webster]
     8. A step or remove downward in any scale of gradation; a
        degree in the scale of genealogy; a generation.
        [1913 Webster]
              No man living is a thousand descents removed from
              Adam himself.                         --Hooker.
        [1913 Webster]
     9. Lowest place; extreme downward place. [R.]
        [1913 Webster]
              And from the extremest upward of thy head,
              To the descent and dust below thy foot. --Shak.
     10. (Mus.) A passing from a higher to a lower tone.
     Syn: Declivity; slope; degradation; extraction; lineage;
          assault; invasion; attack.
          [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: a movement downward
      2: properties attributable to your ancestry; "he comes from good
         origins" [syn: origin, descent, 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: descent, line of descent,
         lineage, filiation]
      5: a downward slope or bend [syn: descent, declivity,
         fall, decline, declination, declension, downslope]
         [ant: acclivity, ascent, climb, raise, rise,
      6: the descendants of one individual; "his entire lineage has
         been warriors" [syn: lineage, line, line of descent,
         descent, bloodline, blood line, blood, pedigree,
         ancestry, origin, parentage, stemma, stock]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  309 Moby Thesaurus words for "descent":
     Brownian movement, Indian file, abasement, advance, affiliation,
     altitude peak, angular motion, apparentation, array, articulation,
     ascending, ascent, automatic control, axial motion, backflowing,
     backing, backset, backward motion, bank, birth, blast-off, blood,
     bloodline, branch, breed, brood, burn, burnout, buzz, career,
     catena, catenation, ceiling, chain, chain reaction, chaining,
     characterize, check, children, climbing, comedown, coming after,
     common ancestry, communicate, concatenation, concavity, connection,
     consanguinity, consecution, consecutiveness, construe,
     continuation, continuity, continuum, course, current, cycle,
     de-escalation, debasement, decadence, decadency, declension,
     declination, decline, declivity, deflation, deformation,
     degeneracy, degenerateness, degeneration, degradation, delineate,
     demotion, depict, depravation, depravedness, depreciation,
     depression, derivation, derogation, descendants, descending,
     describe, deterioration, detrusion, devolution, diminution, dip,
     direct line, discomfiture, disgrace, distaff side, distinguish,
     down, downgate, downgrade, downhill, downtrend, downturn,
     downward mobility, downward motion, downward trend, drift,
     driftage, drone, drop, ducking, dump, dying, ebb, ebbing,
     effeteness, elucidate, embarrassment, end of burning, endless belt,
     endless round, exemplify, explain, explicate, expound, extension,
     extraction, fading, failing, failure, failure of nerve, fall,
     falling-off, family, female line, file, filiation, flight, flow,
     flux, following, forward motion, fruit, gamut, gradation, grade,
     gradient, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, hang, hangdog look,
     hanging, hauling down, heirs, hollowness, hostages to fortune,
     house, hum, humbled pride, humiliation, ignition, illustrate,
     image, impact, impart, incline, inheritors, interpret, involution,
     issue, kids, lapse, launch, letdown, lift-off, limn, line,
     line of descent, lineage, little ones, logical sequence,
     loss of tone, lowering, male line, monotone, mortification,
     mounting, narrate, new generation, nexus, oblique motion,
     offspring, ongoing, onrush, order, order of succession, origin,
     passage, pedigree, pendulum, periodicity, phylum, picture, plenum,
     plummeting, plunging, portray, posteriority, posterity,
     postposition, powder train, procession, progeny, progress,
     progression, prolongation, put-down, queue, race, radial motion,
     random motion, range, rank, recite, recount, recurrence, reduction,
     reflowing, refluence, reflux, regression, rehearse, render, report,
     reticulation, retrocession, retrogradation, retrogression,
     reversal, reverse, reverse of fortune, rise, rising,
     rising generation, rocket launching, rotation, round, routine, row,
     run, rush, scale, seed, self-abasement, self-abnegation,
     self-diminishment, sept, sequence, series, set, setback, setdown,
     severe check, shame, shamefacedness, shamefastness, shoot, shot,
     side, sideward motion, single file, sinking, slippage, slope,
     slump, soaring, sons, spear side, spectrum, spindle side, state,
     stem, sternway, stirps, stock, strain, stream, string, subjunction,
     submergence, subsiding, succession, successiveness, suffixation,
     swath, sword side, thread, throwback, thrusting under, tier, train,
     traject, trajectory, trajet, transmit, treasures, trend,
     upward motion, velocity peak, wane, windrow, younglings,

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  DESCENT. Hereditary succession. Descent is the title, whereby a person, upon 
  the death of his ancestor, acquires the estate of the latter, as his heir at 
  law: This manner of acquiring title is directly opposed to that of purchase. 
  (q.v.) 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1952, et seq. 
       2. It will be proper to consider, 1. What kind of property descends; 
  and, 2. The general rules of descent. 
       3.-1. All real estate, and all freehold of inheritance in land, 
  descend to the heir. And, as being accessory to the land and making a part 
  of the inheritance, fixtures, and emblements, and all things annexed to, or 
  connected with the land, descend with it to the heir. Terms for years, and 
  other estates less than freehold, pass to the executor, and are not subjects 
  of descent. It is a rule at common law that no one can inherit read estate 
  unless he was heir to the person last seised. This does not apply as a 
  general rule in the United States. Vide article Possessio fratris. 
       4.-2. The general rules of the law of descent. 1. It is a general 
  rule in the law of inheritance, that if a person owning real estate, dies 
  seised, or as owner, without devising the same, the estate shall descend to 
  his descendants in the direct line of lineal descent, and if there be but 
  one person, then to him or her alone; and if more than one person, and all 
  of equal degree of consanguinity to the ancestor, then the inheritance shall 
  descend to the several persons as tenants in common in equal parts, however 
  remote from the intestate the common degree of consanguinity may be. This 
  rule is in favor of the equal claims of descending line, in the same degree, 
  without distinction of sex, and to the exclusion of all other claimants. The 
  following example will, illustrate it; it consists of three distinct cases: 
  1. Suppose Paul shall die seised of real estate, leaving two sons and a 
  daughter, in this case the estate would descend to them in equal parts; but 
  suppose, 2. That instead of children, he should leave several grandchildren, 
  two of them the children of his son Peter, and one the son of his son John, 
  these will inherit the estate in equal proportions; or, 3. Instead of 
  children and grandchildren, suppose Paul left ten great grandchildren, one 
  the lineal descendant of his son John, and nine the descendants of his son 
  Peter; these, like the others, would partake equally of the inheritance as 
  tenants in common. According to 'Chancellor Kent, this rule prevails in all 
  the United States, with this variation, that in Vermont the male descendants 
  take double the share of females; and in South Carolina, the widow takes 
  one-third of the estate in fee; and in Georgia, she tales a child's share in 
  fee, if there be any children, and, if none, she then takes in each of those 
  states, a moiety of the estate. In North and South Carolina, the claimant 
  takes in all cases, per stirpes, though standing in the same degree. 4 Kent, 
  Com. 371; Reeves' Law of Desc. passim; Griff. Law Reg., answers to the 6th 
  interr. under the head of each state. In Louisiana the rule is, that in all 
  cases in which representation is admitted, the partition is made by roots; 
  if one root has produced several branches, the subdivision is also made by 
  root in each branch, and the members of the branch take between them by 
  heads. Civil Code, art. 895. 
       5.-2. It is also a rule, that if a person dying seised, or as owner 
  of the land, leaves lawful issue of different degrees of consanguinity, the 
  inheritance shall descend to the children and grandchildren of the ancestor, 
  if any be living, and to the issue of such children and grandchildren as 
  shall be dead, and so on to the remotest degree, as tenants in common; but 
  such grandchildren and their descendants, shall inherit only such share as 
  their parents respectively would have inherited if living. This rule may be 
  illustrated by the following example: 1. Suppose Peter, the ancestor, had 
  two children; John, dead, (represented in the following diagram by figure 
  1,) and Maria, living (fig. 2); John had two children, Joseph, living, (fig. 
  3,) and Charles, dead (fig. 4); Charles had two children, Robert, living, 
  (fig. 5,) and James, dead (fig. 6.); James had two children, both living, 
  Ann, (fig. 7,) and William, (fig. 8.) 
                       Peter (0) the ancestor.
         (1) John                                (2) Maria
  (3) Joseph                (4) Charles
              (5) Robert            (6) James
                    (7) Ann               (8) William
       In this case Maria would inherit one-half; Joseph, the son of John, 
  one-half of the half, or quarter of the whole; Robert, one-eighth of the 
  whole; and Ann and William, each one-sixteenth of the whole, which they 
  would hold as tenants in common in these proportions. This is called 
  inheritance per stirpes, by roots, because the heirs take in such portions 
  only as their immediate ancestors would have inherited if living. 
       6.-3. When the owner of land dies without lawful issue, leaving 
  parents, it is the rule in some of the states, that the inheritance shall. 
  ascend to them, first to the father, and then to the mother, or jointly to 
  both, under certain regulations prescribed by statute. 
       7.-4. When the intestate dies without issue or parents, the estate 
  descends to his brothers and sisters and their representatives. When there 
  are such relations, and all of equal degree of consanguinity to the 
  intestate, the inheritance descends to them in equal parts, however remote 
  from the intestate the common degree of consanguinity may be. When all the 
  heirs are brothers and sisters, or all of them nephews and nieces, they take 
  equally. When some are dead who leave issue, and some are living, then those 
  who are living take the share they would have taken if all had been living, 
  and the descendants of those who are dead inherit only the share which their 
  immediate parents would have received if living. When the direct lineal 
  descendants stand in equal degrees, they take per capita, by the head, each 
  one full share; when, on the contrary, they stand in different degrees of 
  consanguinity to the common ancestor, they take per stirpes, by roots, by 
  right of representation. It is nearly a general rule, that the ascending 
  line, after parents, is postponed to the collateral line of brothers and 
  sisters. Considerable difference exists in the laws of the several states, 
  when the next of kin are nephews and nieces, and uncles and aunts claim as 
  standing in the same degree. In many of the states, all these relations take 
  equally as being next of kin; this is the rule in the states of New 
  Hampshire, Vermont, (subject to the claim of the males to a double portion 
  as above stated,) Rhode Island, North Carolina, and Louisiana. In Alabama, 
  Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, 
  Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, 
  Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, on the contrary, 
  nephews and nieces take in exclusion of uncles and aunts, though they be of 
  equal degree of consanguinity to the intestate. In Alabama, Connecticut, 
  Georgia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont, there is 
  no representation among collaterals after the children of brothers and 
  sisters in Delaware, none after the grandchildren. of brothers and sisters. 
  In Louisiana, the ascending line must be exhausted before the estate passes 
  to collaterals, Code, art. 910. In North Carolina, claimants take per 
  stirpes in every case, though they stand in equal degree of consanguinity to 
  the common ancestor. As to the distinction between whole and half blood, 
  vide Half blood. 
       8.-5. Chancellor Kent lays it down as a general rule in the American 
  law of descent, that when the intestate has left no lineal descendants, nor 
  parents, nor brothers, nor sisters, or their descendants, that the 
  grandfather takes the estate, before uncles and aunts, as being nearest of 
  kin to the intestate. 
       9.-6. When the intestate dies leaving no lineal descendants, nor 
  parents, nor brothers, nor sisters, nor any of their descendants, nor grand 
  parents, as a general rule, it is presumed, the inheritance descends to the 
  brothers and sisters, of both the intestate's parents, and to their 
  descendants, equally. When they all stand in equal degree to the intestate, 
  they take per capita, and when in unequal degree, per stirpes. To this 
  general rule, however, there are slight variations in some of the states, 
  as, in Now York, grand parents do not take before collaterals. 
      10.-7. When the inheritance came to the intestate on the part of the 
  father, then the brothers and sisters of the father and their descendant's 
  shall have the preference, and, in default of them, the estate shall descend 
  to the brothers and sisters of the mother, and their descendants and where 
  the inheritance comes to the intestate on the part of his mother, then her 
  brothers and sisters, and their descendants, have a preference, and in 
  default of them, the brothers and sisters on the side of the father, and 
  their descendants, inherit. This is the rule in Connecticut, New Jersey, New 
  York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode island, Tennessee, and Virginia. In 
  Pennsylvania, it is provided by act of assembly, April 8, 1833, that no 
  person who is not of the blood of the ancestors or other relations from whom 
  any real estate descended, or by whom it was given or devised to the 
  intestate, shall in any of the cases before mentioned, take any estate of 
  inheritance therein, but such real estate subject to such life estate as may 
  be in existence by virtue of this act, shall pass to and vest in such other 
  persons as would be entitled by this act, if the persons not of the blood of 
  such ancestor, or other relation, had never existed, or were dead at the 
  decease of the intestate. In some of the states there is perhaps no 
  distinction as to the descent, whether they have been acquired by purchase 
  or by descent from an ancestor. 
      11.-8. When there is a failure of heirs under the preceding rules, the 
  inheritance descends" to the remaining next of kin of the intestate, 
  according to the rules in the statute of distribution of the personal 
  estate, subject to the doctrine in the preceding rules in the different 
  states as to the half blood, to ancestral estates, and as to the equality of 
  distribution. This rule prevails in several states, subject to some 
  peculiarities in the local laws of descent, which extend to this rule. 
      12. It is proper before closing this article, to remind the reader, that 
  in computing the degrees of consanguinity, the civil law is followed 
  generally in this country, except in North Carolina, where the rules of the 
  common law in their application to descents are adopted, to ascertain the 
  degree of consanguinity. Vide the articles Branch; Consanguinity; Degree; 

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