decline

verb
de·​cline | \ di-ˈklīn How to pronounce decline (audio) , dē-\
declined; declining

Definition of decline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 archaic : to turn from a straight course : stray
2a : to slope downward : descend
b : to bend down : droop … eyes … declining toward the ground …— Henry Fielding
c : to stoop (see stoop entry 1 sense 3b) to what is unworthy … the direful shameful state Adam declined into …— Edward Taylor
3a of a celestial body : to sink toward setting the declining sun
b : to draw toward a close : wane the day declined
4 : to tend toward an inferior state or weaker condition his health declined Employee morale declined after the layoffs.
5 : to withhold consent We invited him but he declined.
6 : to become less in amount The price of the stock declined.

transitive verb

1 grammar : to give in prescribed order the grammatical forms of (a noun, pronoun, or adjective) decline the Latin adjective "brevis"

2 obsolete

a : avert … evasions are sought to decline the pressure of resistless arguments …— Samuel Johnson
b : avoid … sinners … despairing to decline their fate …— Thomas Ken
3 : to cause to bend or bow downward … the clover … declines its blooms.— W. C. Bryant
4a : to refuse to undertake, undergo, engage in, or comply with decline battle
b : to refuse especially courteously decline an invitation declined to give her name to the reporter

decline

noun
de·​cline | \ di-ˈklīn How to pronounce decline (audio) , dē- also ˈdē-ˌklīn How to pronounce decline (audio) \

Definition of decline (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the process of declining: a period of economic decline a decline in the local bird population
a : a gradual physical or mental sinking and wasting away experiencing a mental decline
b : a change to a lower state or level the decline of the aristocracy
2 : the period during which something is deteriorating or approaching its end an empire in decline
3 : a downward slope built on a slight decline
4 : a wasting disease especially : pulmonary tuberculosis

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Other Words from decline

Verb

declinable \ di-​ˈklī-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce declinable (audio) \ adjective
decliner \ di-​ˈklī-​nər How to pronounce decliner (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for decline

Verb

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

deterioration, degeneration, decadence, decline mean the falling from a higher to a lower level in quality, character, or vitality. deterioration implies generally the impairment of value or usefulness. the deterioration of the house through neglect degeneration stresses physical, intellectual, or especially moral retrogression. the degeneration of their youthful idealism into cynicism decadence presupposes a reaching and passing the peak of development and implies a turn downward with a consequent loss in vitality or energy. cited love of luxury as a sign of cultural decadence decline differs from decadence in suggesting a more markedly downward direction and greater momentum as well as more obvious evidence of deterioration. the meteoric decline of his career after the scandal

Examples of decline in a Sentence

Verb

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

Noun

a period of economic decline He says that American industry is in a state of decline. The town fell into decline after the factory closed down. The economy experienced a decline of two million jobs. We saw a sharp decline in sales this month. Declines led advances at the end of the trading day. There was some decline in stock prices at the end of the trading session.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

These decline push-ups will work your chest from a slightly different angle than a standard push-up, says Oprea. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "This 4-Move Workout Works Your Whole Body—and All You Need Is a Step," 19 Apr. 2019 Neither Trump attended the event, though the candidate appears to have sent a formal note declining the invite to Russia’s deputy prime minister. Vogue, "Onetime Street Style Star Mentioned in the Mueller Report," 18 Apr. 2019 Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the matter. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "At Nearly 93, Queen Elizabeth Is Still Horseback Riding Like a Boss," 9 Apr. 2019 Meanwhile, in-store experiences are still declining. Glamour, "Victoria's Secret Swim Is Back After a Three-Year Hiatus," 20 Mar. 2019 When the incumbent declined to run again, the race attracted national attention. Rebecca Gale, Marie Claire, "Elise Stefanik Is Going to Bring Women Back to the GOP," 25 Mar. 2019 Other stars who declined the offer included Pink, according to Entertainment Tonight, and Cardi B, who confirmed in a statement. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rihanna Couldn't Care Less About Missing the Super Bowl on Her Flight," 4 Feb. 2019 After years of declining readership and endless newsroom cuts, the new owner of the Los Angeles Times is setting a high target in his effort to turn the company around. Lukas I. Alpert, WSJ, "L.A. Times Owner Sets Ambitious Goal: Five Million Digital Subscribers," 19 Mar. 2019 When Antinoro declined, the company began discussing the event with media anyway. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "New Report Claims Tesla Engaged in Lies, Threats to Stop Leaks," 13 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But this year, they are being hit hard by bad weather and a decline in home building. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, "Lumber Prices Have Unseasonable Slump," 2 May 2019 Trillanes and opposition groups have dismissed the claim as a lie and asked him to focus instead on addressing poverty, inflation, rice shortages, traffic jams and a decline in the value of the peso currency. Jim Gomez, Fox News, "Philippine president's fiercest critic arrested, posts bail," 25 Sep. 2018 As a result, those states saw a decline in responses to meth labs — temporarily. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "Kentucky State Police Say a Teen Got His Parents Busted for Allegedly Cooking Meth," 21 Sep. 2018 When the jute mills closed in the 1970s and ’80s due a decline in production, Dundee fell into a post-industrial hangover. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "How the New V&A Museum Is Changing an Entire Scottish City," 14 Sep. 2018 Last year, there were 94, a 36 percent decline, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ryan Ori, chicagotribune.com, "In exodus from Fulton Market, surviving meatpackers scatter and adapt," 13 July 2018 Once a bastion of the labor movement, Wisconsin also witnessed a dramatic decline in union membership, to just 8 percent of the workforce. Glenn C. Altschuler, Philly.com, "'Fall of Wisconsin': Why Dems lose, and keep on losing," 13 July 2018 No, in so many words, Andrew Marshall, the Pentagon strategist who saw earlier than most the decline of the Soviet Union, the strategic challenge from China, and the impact of the digital revolution in warfare. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Andrew Marshall," 9 Apr. 2019 That’s a decline of 3.9 million, not the 5 million that Trump talked about. Christopher Rugaber, The Seattle Times, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s speech exaggerates border peril," 6 Feb. 2019

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

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First Known Use of decline

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for decline

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French decliner, from Latin declinare to turn aside, inflect, from de- + clinare to incline — more at lean

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Statistics for decline

Last Updated

6 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decline

The first known use of decline was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for decline

decline

verb

English Language Learners Definition of decline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

decline

noun

English Language Learners Definition of decline (Entry 2 of 2)

: the process of becoming worse in condition or quality
: a change to a lower number or amount

decline

verb
de·​cline | \ di-ˈklīn How to pronounce decline (audio) \
declined; declining

Kids Definition of decline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to bend or slope downward The road declines into the valley.
2 : to pass toward a lower, worse, or weaker level Her health declined.
3 : to refuse to accept, do, or agree decline an invitation decline to leave

decline

noun

Kids Definition of decline (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a process of becoming worse or weaker in condition At 80, Grampa is showing no signs of decline.
2 : a change to a lower state or level a business decline
3 : the time when something is nearing its end the empire's decline
de·​cline | \ di-ˈklīn How to pronounce decline (audio) \
declined; declining

Medical Definition of decline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to tend toward an impaired state or a weaker condition

decline

noun

Medical Definition of decline (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the process of declining especially : a gradual physical or mental sinking and wasting away
2 : the period during which the end of life is approaching
3 : a wasting disease especially : pulmonary tuberculosis

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More from Merriam-Webster on decline

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decline

Spanish Central: Translation of decline

Nglish: Translation of decline for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decline for Arabic Speakers

Comments on decline

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