dec·​li·​na·​tion | \ ˌde-klə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce declination (audio) \
plural declinations

Definition of declination

1 : angular distance north or south from the celestial equator measured along a great circle passing through the celestial poles
2 : a turning aside or swerving
3 : deterioration moral declination
4 : a bending downward : inclination
5a : a formal refusal
b law : a decision by a prosecutor not to pursue an indictment
6 : the angle formed between a magnetic needle and the geographical meridian

Other Words from declination

declinational \ ˌde-​klə-​ˈnā-​shnəl How to pronounce declination (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of declination in a Sentence

there's been a declination in basic civility in our society congressional declinations of cabinet appointments have been relatively infrequent, most senators believing that the president is entitled to pick his own advisors
Recent Examples on the Web The declination stated that Lee was somehow able to get through the security screening process with a weapon described as a replica gun containing a folding knife with a roughly 3-inch blade. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 Less expensive compasses are often less accurate, while more expensive models offer features like declination correction, which allows for extremely precise readings. Camryn Rabideau, Popular Mechanics, 7 June 2022 According to a declination obtained by Good Morning America, the statute of limitations had expired. Jen Juneau,, 31 May 2022 After he was tackled, Chappelle got back on his feet quickly and pushed Lee away, according to the declination. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 He subsequently was interviewed by a Maryland State Police sergeant, at the request of Baltimore County Deputy State’s Attorney Robin Coffin, according to her declination letter. Darcy Costello, Baltimore Sun, 25 Apr. 2022 The response from the community should not be that this declination of prosecution means that nothing wrong happened. Christine Pelisek,, 6 Apr. 2022 The letter to Jardine Lloyd Thompson is the first such declination awarded to a company in more than 18 months. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, 30 Mar. 2022 At the turn of the 18th century, Edmund Halley, the namesake of the famous comet, recorded a magnetic chart of compass declination over the Atlantic Ocean while on voyages of the Paramour Pink. Kimberly Bowker, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of declination

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for declination

Middle English declinacioun, from Middle French declination, from Latin declination-, declinatio angle of the heavens, turning aside

Buying Guide

A love for education starts at an early age. The Reviews team researched the best science toys for kids to jumpstart their learning.

Learn More About declination

Time Traveler for declination

Time Traveler

The first known use of declination was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near declination



declination axis

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for declination

Last Updated

10 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Declination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on declination Encyclopedia article about declination


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!