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

Other European currencies, such as the Swiss franc, Norwegian krone and Polish zloty, also declined. Ira Iosebashvili, WSJ, "ECB Stimulus Decision Sinks Euro," 7 Mar. 2019 Australia’s gun deaths, for one, were already declining before the law passed. German Lopez, Vox, "I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery.," 14 Feb. 2019 Scientists from the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the universities of Sydney and Queensland reviewed 73 existing reports of insect declines from around the world. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "The Staggering Worldwide Decline of Insects Is a Warning of Ecosystem Collapse," 13 Feb. 2019 If your Payment Method is declined for a recurring payment of your subscription fee, provide us a new Payment Method promptly or your subscription will be canceled. Harper's BAZAAR, "Terms of Sale," 5 Feb. 2019 In keeping with a long-standing policy of not commenting on countries’ internal affairs, India declined to take a position on the Washington Post columnist’s killing by suspected Saudi agents. Ashok Sharma, The Seattle Times, "Saudi crown prince backs India’s fight against terrorism," 20 Feb. 2019 Workers in the tourism industry, for instance, would likely see their incomes decline in a cashless world. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019 But because fertility naturally starts to decline in your thirties, these companies assert information is power. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "Do You Need a Fertility Test—Even If You’re Not Trying to Get Pregnant?," 13 Dec. 2018 In Southern California, the year-over-year rate of home price appreciation—meaning the rate at which home prices are going up—began to decline in the spring and has continued to do so into the fall. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Home prices have finally hit a wall on the West Coast," 16 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Through Friday, roughly a quarter of the market’s decline since September was because of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, according to data collected by S&P CapitalIQ. Matt Phillips, The Seattle Times, "Tech stocks lead slump that erases November’s gain," 19 Nov. 2018 That forces investors to decide whether Twitter’s user decline is just the temporary cost of cleaning up the service, or a sign of even deeper problems. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Twitter is about to tell us if it lost millions of users. Does that really mean its plan is working?," 24 Oct. 2018 One study notes that, after 2–3 years in a monogamous relationship, men’s libidos plateau while women’s take a sharp decline. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "The "Wonderful Weirdness" of Female Sexuality," 23 Oct. 2018 Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which has also reported a decline in Trump's net worth, now estimates the president is worth $2.84 billion. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "How Much Is Donald Trump Worth?," 2 Oct. 2018 Shares of Papa John’s fell nearly 5 percent on Wednesday, after the Forbes report, bringing the stock’s decline since November to about 30 percent. New York Times, "Racial Slur Leads to Papa John’s Founder Quitting Chairman Post," 11 July 2018 But this letter is an illustration of how the rubber meets the road as the smartphone plateau transitions into the smartphone decline. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Apple's in Trouble for the First Time in a Long Time, And You Already Know Why," 3 Jan. 2019 The decline means California met the Legislature's goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels, and did so a full four years before the target year of 2020. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "California beats its 2020 goals for cutting greenhouse gases," 11 July 2018 The decline in revenue and rise in data usage could be part of the reason why T-Mobile (tmus) and Sprint (s), the third and fourth-largest mobile carriers, are seeking to merge. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Everybody Has a Cell Phone, So What's Next for the Wireless Industry?," 10 July 2018

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

11 Mar 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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