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

Other Words from decline

Verb

declinable \ di-​ˈklī-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce decline (audio) \ adjective
decliner \ di-​ˈklī-​nər How to pronounce decline (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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Thursday’s report showed that wholesale gas prices tumbled 16.7% from June to July, a sign that retail prices at the pump will continue to decline this month and likely into September. Christopher Rugaber, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Aug. 2022 Most states require that care providers who decline to provide services or prescriptions must find an alternate option for patients. Sara Edwards, USA TODAY, 26 July 2022 For those who decline the opportunity, the credit amount would be sent to a local safety net and communities receiving these funds would be required to establish and provide safety-net care. John C. Goodman, Forbes, 15 July 2022 The clearest path to acquiring Irving would‘ve required significant financial sacrifice from the seven-time All-Star, who could decline his options and then sign with the Lakers in free agency. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2022 The stock market's tumble this year has put the S&P 500 into a bear market — the term for when stocks decline at least 20% from their most recent high. CBS News, 14 June 2022 Those who decline an offer of an available bed, of which there are none now, would no longer be allowed to live on the street. Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2022 Although covid testing is largely mandatory in China, the penalty for those who decline to be tested is unclear. Jane Li, Quartz, 20 Apr. 2022 To cater to these newly temperate types—that is, to get those who decline to consume to keep consuming—sober-friendly bars have shot up like crocuses in New York, Denver, Miami, Austin, and San Francisco. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 19 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The cash payment in exchange for dead snakes no doubt hastened the species' decline. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 14 Aug. 2022 Economists have long anticipated this decline as the U.S. population ages. Gwynn Guilford, WSJ, 14 Aug. 2022 The Taliban have struggled to govern and halt the sharp economic decline that has pushed millions more Afghans into poverty and even hunger. Rahim Faiez, ajc, 14 Aug. 2022 Honeybees began to show an alarming decline in 2006. Allison Chinchar And Jennifer Gray, CNN, 14 Aug. 2022 Biden has been touting the decline in gasoline prices ahead of U.S. midterm elections in November, where Democrats are defending a narrow House majority and a one-vote advantage in the Senate. Fortune, 14 Aug. 2022 Gas prices are still well above year-ago levels, but the decline helps ease some strains on households and the economy. Bill Stone, Forbes, 14 Aug. 2022 Biogen was also the company behind Aduhelm, the controversial drug to treat Alzheimer’s that the FDA approved without clear evidence that the therapy actually slows down the cognitive decline associated with the disease. Elissa Welle, STAT, 12 Aug. 2022 Analysts attribute the decline in Netflix subscribers to the prevalence of password sharing, its withdrawal from the Russian market following the invasion of Ukraine and consumer concerns about the economy. Amy Cheng, Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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

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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Dictionary Entries Near decline

declinature

decline

declining

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Statistics for decline

Last Updated

16 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Decline.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decline. Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for decline

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

decline

intransitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on decline

Nglish: Translation of decline for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decline for Arabic Speakers

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