de·​cliv·​i·​ty | \ di-ˈkli-və-tē How to pronounce declivity (audio) \
plural declivities

Definition of declivity

1 : downward inclination
2 : a descending slope

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What is the Difference Between declivity and acclivity?

Three different English words descend from "clivus," the Latin word for "slope" or "hill" - with the help of three Latin prefixes. Declivity combines "clivus" with the prefix de-, meaning "down" or "away." "Acclivity" uses "ad-" (which may change its second letter depending on the root word), meaning "to" or "toward." Hence, an acclivity is an upward slope. The third word has a figurative meaning in English: "proclivity" makes use of the prefix pro-, meaning "forward," and this word refers to a personal inclination, predisposition, or "leaning."

Examples of declivity in a Sentence

the cabin is precariously perched on a declivity of the mountain's northern face

First Known Use of declivity

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for declivity

Latin declivitat-, declivitas, from declivis sloping down, from de- + clivus slope, hill; akin to Latin clinare

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Time Traveler for declivity

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The first known use of declivity was in 1612

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Cite this Entry

“Declivity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on declivity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for declivity

Britannica English: Translation of declivity for Arabic Speakers

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