Descent, Decent, and Dissent

What are the differences between descent, decent, and dissent?

Descent means going downwards, a downward slope, or ancestry.
Decent means civilized, good, or adequate.
Dissent means to argue or a difference of opinion.

Descent, Decent, and Dissent

There is often confusion over the words descent, decent, and dissent.


The noun descent has a few meanings:

The action of descending (i.e., going downwards). A downhill incline. Family origin.


The adjective decent means civilized, good or adequate. (It rhymes with recent.)



Dissent can be a noun meaning difference of opinion or a verb meaning to disagree.


A Quick Test

Decent Rhymes with Recent

Native English speakers always pronounce these words correctly. Confusion only occurs in writing. Therefore, if you remember that decent rhymes with recent (which is logical considering they share the same last five letters), you will succeed in differentiating between decent and descent.

"To Diss" Is "To Dissent"

The street word to diss (deriving from disrespect) is close in meaning to to dissent (which means to disagree). Therefore, the first four letters of dissent can remind you of its meaning.

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See Also

What are adjectives? What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words