One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The fact of descending from a particular progenitor or ancestor, or of having a particular origin. Also occasionally: the transmission of a title, etc., to an heir.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Richard Percyvall (c1558–1620), administrator and lexicographer. Originally from descend + -ence, after descendent; compare post-classical Latin descendentia slope, declivity, Spanish descendencia, Italian † descendenza (now discendenza).
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