Descendant or Descendent?

Do not confuse the spelling of descendant and descendent, which sound similar. Descendant is the only spelling of the noun, denoting somebody or something related to an ancestor, or something based on an earlier thing. Descendent is the usual spelling of the adjective, which means “going downward.”

<taken from Microsoft Encarta Dictionary>
Microsoft® Encarta® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


2 thoughts on “Descendant or Descendent?

  1. Phil Evans

    This is actually true, informative and exactly what I was looking for with regards to the difference between a descendant of an ancestor and something being descendent as it moves downward.
    Just because people use “their” and “there” interchangeably does not mean that they should, even though people know what is meant by the context.
    As an ancient transcendent author said,
    “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
    English is a fluid language, but you and I, dear reader, now know what is the right way to use these words.

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