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

This revenue, however, has continued to decline since reaching nearly 3.5% in 2011. Lawrence Andrea, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fewer people are smoking cigarettes, so state tax revenue is down. Now, Wisconsin will tax e-cigs.," 12 July 2019 Grubhub has for years provided a checkbox to decline plasticware and napkins, spokeswoman Yera Ha said in an email. Carolyn Said, SFChronicle.com, "Want a lid with your coffee? In SF, you may have to ask," 11 July 2019 In fact the global fertility rate fell from 3.2 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 in 2019 and is projected to decline further. Erin Davis And Brandon Griggs, CNN, "The world's population is nearing 8 billion. That's not great news," 11 July 2019 But as the patriarch’s health began to decline, all five offspring sat down for interviews to share their favorite memories of growing up with one of the richest and most influential men in the world. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, "Remembering Ross Perot — and the circus dog, traveling outhouse and other tales he left behind," 10 July 2019 However, district scores on standardized tests plateaued and then began to decline in some areas in recent years, causing a group of parents to ask for more resources in the classroom and less spending on central office positions. Steven Goode, courant.com, "Bloomfield Superintendent of Schools James Thompson will be named to top state education post, sources say," 10 July 2019 There was political controversy, of course, though Megan Rapinoe or her teammates would be far from the first athlete to decline an invite to the White House. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Through controversy and competition, U.S. women's soccer showed it's best," 8 July 2019 Sales of its blockbuster Spinraza are likely to decline as other drugs reach the market, and all eyes are on Novartis’ competitive gene therapy Zolgensma. Brittany Meiling, San Diego Union-Tribune, "4 San Diego companies that grew billions (and billions) while you weren’t looking," 8 July 2019 The share of black teachers in government schools nationwide has continued to decline: from 8.1% in 1971 to 6.9% in 1986 and 6.7% today—this during a period during which the black share of the population as a whole has risen to nearly 13%. The Economist, "Why America lost so many of its black teachers," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The decline has been so steep and sudden that a new ORR shelter outside San Antonio that can house 1,300 migrant teenagers had only 223 on Wednesday. Alicia A. Caldwell, WSJ, "Federal Agencies Trade Blame Over Detention of Migrant Children," 12 July 2019 Park Tae-seong, a senior ministry official, said the decline was unrelated to Tokyo’s trade curbs. Washington Post, "South Korea seeks US help in bitter trade spat with Japan," 11 July 2019 Mr Salvini has scooped up the credit for this, even though the decline is mostly the result of tough actions by the previous government. The Economist, "Will Matteo Salvini wreck the euro?," 11 July 2019 The decline of relief pitching is directly attributable to slugging, not batting average. Tom Verducci, SI.com, "10 Storylines Defining Baseball in 2019," 8 July 2019 Some decline in these numbers was to be expected, since Tesla hasn't given either model a major overhaul in several years. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Tesla delivered a record number of cars in the second quarter," 2 July 2019 The notable decline in foot traffic on the streets was bad news for vendors at a weekly farmer’s market. Linda Givetash, NBC News, "Tourists forced to adapt as Europe waits for relief from record-breaking heat," 29 June 2019 David Tarsh, a spokeperson for ForwardKeys, said the decline is similar to what happens sometimes after violence strikes a country. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Delta allows passengers to Dominican Republic to cancel their flights," 26 June 2019 David Tarsh, a spokeperson for ForwardKeys, said the decline is similar to what happens sometimes after violence strikes a country. Chris Isidore, CNN, "Delta allows passengers to Dominican Republic to cancel their flights," 25 June 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

15 Jul 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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