Sunday, 2 July 2006

"Direct descendant"

Why do people say that? Is it possible to be an indirect descendant? You're either descended from someone or you're not.

9 comments:

Space Bar said...

er--actually, i think it is possible to be indirectly descended from some ancient person, more for property and such reasons. the under-the-blanket, unacknowledged connwection.

i think.

zigzackly said...

Um. Still doesn't make sense to me. But then, so little does.

Kaushik Gopalan said...

Cant you say that you are the indirect descendant of your grandfather's cousin?

Couldnt you use the term to say that you are a relative of a later generation, but that he is not directly responsible for your existence(unlike your grandfather)?

zigzackly said...

You are a descendant of the line of people directly responsible for your existence. You can't be descended from your grand-uncle. Well, okay, in certain families you can, but that's a whole other discussion.

Kaushik Gopalan said...

Ok, I cant really make out if you're right.

Some online dictionaries define the word descendant precisely like you do, others define it in a more generic way: as any relative who lives after you.

jedi said...

i think its more the male bloodline. from first born male/child to first born...

zigzackly said...

Kaushik,
Not convinced, am afraid. Those would be family, yes, part of the same bloodline yes, but not descendants.

Jedi,
That would be a patrilineal line of succession, no?

jedi said...

yea. but then isnt history most patrilineal. the bible for example; son of son of son of and son forth.

WordSmith said...

Most of the time, descendant is the proper term. But when you want to distinguish between a lineal descendant and a relative, you can use the terms direct descendant and indirect descendant. A direct descendant is the offspring of parents, grandparents, and so on, ad infinitum. An indirect descendant is the offspring of the brother or sister of your parent, grandparent, etc. For example, you are a direct descendant of your mother, while your cousins are her indirect descendants. But you and all of your cousins are direct descendants of your common grandmother. You could be a direct descendant of Philip of Macedonia and an indirect descendant of Alexander the Great.