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. Dryden.

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.

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

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