Descent and Dissent are pronounced in the same manner and are hence commonly confused. However, both words have different meanings and usage. Furthermore, both words have multiple meanings and can be used in a variety of contexts.
Descent is a noun. It has multiple meanings.
(i) Meanings: fall; drop; dive; tumble; plunge; crash.
(ii) Meanings: decline; deterioration; degeneration.
(iii) Meanings: ancestry; parentage; lineage; pedigree
(iv) Meanings: downward slope; downward gradient.
Dissent can be used both as a verb and as a noun.
(i) Meanings of dissent as a verb: disagree; oppose; rebel; dispute; differ
(ii) Meanings of dissent as a noun: opposition; disagreement; discord; rebellion; conflict; difference of opinion.
Examples of Descent:
1. The trekkers found the descent from the top of Jog Falls in Karnataka to the base fairly easy, but the ascent back up was more tiring.
2. Taking drugs is like a descent into hell and it is difficult to get out of the addiction.
3. It was discovered that the young boy was of royal descent.
Examples of Dissent as a noun:
1. All the staff members showed dissent towards the new company policies.
2. The Finance Minister introduced higher tax exemption limits in the 2010 Union Budget for salaried women; naturally, nobody showed dissent!
3. It is better not to show dissent towards a new rule if it benefits all.
Examples of Dissent as a verb:
1. Rahul was fired from his job as he was constantly dissenting towards new office rules and creating a bad atmosphere.
2. In a democratic country like India dissenting opinions are not smothered.
3. Many students openly displayed dissenting views about the University exam procedures.