declension

play
noun de·clen·sion \di-ˈklen(t)-shən\

Definition of declension

  1. 1a :  noun, adjective, or pronoun inflection especially in some prescribed order of the formsb :  a class of nouns or adjectives having the same type of inflectional forms

  2. 2 :  a falling off or away :  deterioration

  3. 3 :  descent, slope

declensional

play \-ˈklen(t)-shə-nəl\ adjective

declension was our Word of the Day on 04/05/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of declension in a Sentence

  1. a noticeable declension of the fitness of the baseball players over the winter

  2. a declension in her acting career from leading roles to cameos eventually

Recent Examples of declension from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'declension'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Declension came into English (via Middle French) in the first half of the 15th century, originating in the Latin verb declinare, meaning "to inflect" or "to turn aside." The word seems to have whiled away its time in the narrow field of grammar until Shakespeare put a new sense of the word in his play Richard III in 1593: "A beauty-waning and distressed widow / … Seduc'd the pitch and height of his degree / To base declension and loath'd bigamy." This "deterioration" sense led within a few decades to the newest sense of the word still in common use, "descent" or "slope." The 19th century saw still another new sense of the word—meaning "a courteous refusal"—but that sense has remained quite rare.

Origin and Etymology of declension

Middle English declenson, modification of Middle French declinaison, from Latin declination-, declinatio grammatical inflection, turning aside, from declinare to inflect, turn aside


First Known Use: 15th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms



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