verb de·cline \di-ˈklīn, dē-\

: to become lower in amount or less in number

: to become worse in condition or quality

: to say that you will not or cannot do something


Full Definition of DECLINE

intransitive verb
archaic :  to turn from a straight course :  stray
a :  to slope downward :  descend
b :  to bend down :  droop
c :  to stoop to what is unworthy
a of a celestial body :  to sink toward setting
b :  to draw toward a close :  wane <the day declined>
:  to tend toward an inferior state or weaker condition <his health declined> <morale declined>
:  to withhold consent
:  to become less in amount <prices declined>
transitive verb
:  to give in prescribed order the grammatical forms of (a noun, pronoun, or adjective)
a :  avert
b :  avoid
:  to cause to bend or bow downward
a :  to refuse to undertake, undergo, engage in, or comply with <decline battle>
b :  to refuse especially courteously <decline an invitation>
de·clin·able \-ˈklī-nə-bəl\ adjective
de·clin·er \-ˈklī-nər\ noun

Examples of DECLINE

  1. The construction of new houses declined five percent this year.
  2. The animal's numbers are declining rapidly.
  3. My grandmother's health has been declining since she broke her hip.
  4. The civilization began to decline around 1000 B.C.
  5. The company declined comment on the scandal.
  6. He changed his mind and declined the company's offer.
  7. I invited him, but he declined.

Origin of DECLINE

Middle English, from Anglo-French decliner, from Latin declinare to turn aside, inflect, from de- + clinare to incline — more at lean
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of DECLINE

decline, refuse, reject, repudiate, spurn mean to turn away by not accepting, receiving, or considering. decline often implies courteous refusal especially of offers or invitations <declined his party's nomination>. refuse suggests more positiveness or ungraciousness and often implies the denial of something asked for <refused to lend them the money>. reject implies a peremptory refusal by sending away or discarding <rejected the manuscript as unpublishable>. repudiate implies a casting off or disowning as untrue, unauthorized, or unworthy of acceptance <teenagers who repudiate the values of their parents>. spurn stresses contempt or disdain in rejection or repudiation <spurned his overtures of friendship>.


noun \also ˈdē-ˌklīn\

: the process of becoming worse in condition or quality

: a change to a lower number or amount

Full Definition of DECLINE

:  the process of declining:
a :  a gradual physical or mental sinking and wasting away
b :  a change to a lower state or level <the decline of the aristocracy>
:  the period during which something is deteriorating or approaching its end <an empire in decline>
:  a downward slope
:  a wasting disease; especially :  pulmonary tuberculosis

Examples of DECLINE

  1. a period of economic decline
  2. He says that American industry is in a state of decline.
  3. The town fell into decline after the factory closed down.
  4. The economy experienced a decline of two million jobs.
  5. We saw a sharp decline in sales this month.
  6. Declines led advances at the end of the trading day.
  7. There was some decline in stock prices at the end of the trading session.

First Known Use of DECLINE

14th century


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May 24, 2015
erudite Hear it
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