Skip to main content
Select Source:

descent

descent, in anthropology, method of classifying individuals in terms of their various kinship connections. Matrilineal and patrilineal descent refer to the mother's or father's sib (or other group), respectively. Bilateral descent refers to descent derived from both sibs equally. Descent groups are of basic significance in the social structure of most nonindustrial societies. They constitute a series of social groups that dominate the domestic organization and the process of socialization, the use and transfer of property, the settlement of disputes, religious activities such as ancestor worship, and certain political relationships. Some lineage systems extend to the limits of the society itself. The Tiv of E Nigeria, for example, all consider themselves descendants in the male line of an eponymous ancestor, and the genealogy of this progeny defines the complete outline of descent group structure.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"descent." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"descent." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/descent

"descent." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/descent

descent

de·scent / diˈsent/ • n. 1. [usu. in sing.] an action of moving downward, dropping, or falling: the plane had gone into a steep descent. ∎  a downward slope, esp. a path or track: a steep, badly eroded descent. ∎  a moral, social, or psychological decline into a specified undesirable state: the ancient empire's slow descent into barbarism. 2. the origin or background of a person in terms of family or nationality: American families of Hungarian descent. ∎  the transmission of qualities, property, or privileges by inheritance. 3. (descent on) a sudden, violent attack: a descent on the enemy airstrip.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"descent." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"descent." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/descent

"descent." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/descent

Descent

DESCENT

Hereditary succession. Succession to the ownership of an estate by inheritance, or by any act of law, as distinguished from purchase. Title by descent is the title by which one person, upon the death of another, acquires the real estate of the latter as an heir at law. The title by inheritance is in all cases called descent, although by statute law the title is sometimes made to ascend. The division among those legally entitled thereto of the real property of intestates.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Descent." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Descent." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/descent

"Descent." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/descent

Descent

Descent

of woodpeckers: a flock of woodpeckersLipton, 1970; also descendants collectively.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Descent." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Descent." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/descent

"Descent." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/descent

descent

descent, descent theory See KINSHIP.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"descent." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"descent." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/descent

"descent." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/descent