decline

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

Definition of decline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to become less in amount The price of the stock declined.
2 : to tend toward an inferior state or weaker condition his health declined Employee morale declined after the layoffs.
3 : to withhold consent We invited him but he declined.
4a of a celestial body : to sink toward setting the declining sun
b : to draw toward a close : wane the day declined
5a : 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
6 archaic : to turn from a straight course : stray

transitive verb

1a : to refuse especially courteously decline an invitation declined to give her name to the reporter
b : to refuse to undertake, undergo, engage in, or comply with decline battle
2 grammar : to give in prescribed order the grammatical forms of (a noun, pronoun, or adjective) decline the Latin adjective "brevis"
3 : to cause to bend or bow downward … the clover … declines its blooms.— W. C. Bryant
4 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

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 But two federal appeals courts declined to block it. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Justice Sotomayor calls out the US Supreme Court in a sharp dissent," 22 Feb. 2020 Lululemon declined an interview request but issued a similar statement, expressing that its investigation was being led by an independent third party. Joe Lindsey, Outside Online, "The Dark Secrets Lurking Inside Your Outdoor Gear," 21 Feb. 2020 But Xerox declined to commercialize the NoteTaker; only a few prototypes were made. John Markoff, BostonGlobe.com, "Lawrence Tesler, pioneer of personal computing, dies at 74," 21 Feb. 2020 But the measure stalled in the Assembly after Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, the New Berlin Republican who leads the Assembly Health Committee, declined to hold a hearing on the measure. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin lawmakers appear likely to take no action on preventing delays in testing sexual assault evidence," 20 Feb. 2020 Shahmiri, the Ring spokeswoman, declined to comment on the ongoing case but said Ring's network had not been compromised. Drew Harwell, Anchorage Daily News, "Ring and Nest helped normalize American surveillance - and turned us into a nation of voyeurs," 18 Feb. 2020 Shahmiri, the Ring spokeswoman, declined to comment on the ongoing case but said Ring’s network had not been compromised. Drew Harwell, Washington Post, "Ring and Nest helped normalize American surveillance and turned us into a nation of voyeurs," 18 Feb. 2020 Roberts declined to be interviewed for this story, but the Sheriff’s Office released the memo sent to volunteers. oregonlive, "Sheriff plans to dismantle Mount Hood search-and-rescue tradition," 15 Feb. 2020 But in what’s seen as a setback, Nevada’s powerful and influential Culinary Workers Union on Thursday declined to endorse a candidate in the Democratic nomination race. Fox News, "Democracy 2020 Digest: Bernie panic spreads inside the party," 14 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Precision Castparts’ aerospace sales grew last year, Buffett said, but sales to power generation clients fell – the second straight year of decline. oregonlive, "Warren Buffett says Precision Castparts is struggling with production problems; 737 MAX shutdown clouds outlook," 22 Feb. 2020 Much of the decline in emissions of carbon and criteria air pollutants comes from increasing retirements of coal plants across the country. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Democrats draw starkest lines yet on fracking," 20 Feb. 2020 Courier Journal Following months of declines in suspensions — and scrutiny from educators — more students are being suspended and receiving referrals in Jefferson County Public Schools than last year. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "Following dropping suspension rates and scrutiny, JCPS seeing uptick in behavior reports," 20 Feb. 2020 Sales of the breakfast staple stabilized in 2019 after several years of declines in the $8 billion U.S. cereal market, according to Harmening. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "General Mills looks to revive cereal sales by charging $13 a box," 19 Feb. 2020 Achim Wambach, the institute’s president, cited fears over the coronavirus’s effects on global trade as a key driver of the decline. ... Caitlin Ostroff, WSJ, "Euro Extends Decline on Weak German Data," 18 Feb. 2020 The true health trouble occurred when Charles was diagnosed with dementia, a type of cognitive decline. Caitlin Taylor, Detroit Free Press, "Monroe couple 'Mam' and 'Pap' — married 72 years — die days apart," 17 Feb. 2020 The 2,048 new cases followed three days of declines but was up by just 39 cases from the previous day's figure. Author: Yanang Wang, Anchorage Daily News, "China sees rise in new virus cases, death toll rises by 105," 17 Feb. 2020 The causes of decline are the destruction of natural habitat, pesticides and the impacts of the climate crisis. Damian Carrington, Wired, "A Car ‘Splatometer’ Study Finds Huge Insect Die-Off," 17 Feb. 2020

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 6

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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Learn More about decline

Time Traveler for decline

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for decline

Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decline.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decline. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for decline

decline

verb
How to pronounce decline (audio)

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
How to pronounce decline (audio) How to pronounce decline (audio)

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

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