The act or an instance of descending. A way down. A downward incline or passage; a slope. Hereditary derivation; lineage: a person of African descent. One generation of a specific lineage. The fact or process of coming down or being derived from a source: a paper tracing the descent of the novel from old picaresque tales. Development in form or structure during transmission from an original source. Law Transference of property by inheritance. A lowering or decline, as in status or level: Her career went into a rapid descent after the charges of misconduct. A sudden visit or attack; an onslaught.