verb (1)
re·​cede | \ ri-ˈsēd How to pronounce recede (audio) \
receded; receding

Definition of recede

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to move back or away : withdraw a receding hairline
b : to slant backward
2 : to grow less or smaller : diminish, decrease a receding deficit


verb (2)
re·​cede | \ (ˌ)rē-ˈsēd How to pronounce recede (audio) \
receded; receding; recedes

Definition of recede (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cede back to a former possessor

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Choose the Right Synonym for recede

Verb (1)

recede, retreat, retract, back mean to move backward. recede implies a gradual withdrawing from a forward or high fixed point in time or space. the flood waters gradually receded retreat implies withdrawal from a point or position reached. retreating soldiers retract implies drawing back from an extended position. a cat retracting its claws back is used with up, down, out, or off to refer to any retrograde motion. backed off on the throttle

Examples of recede in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Many firms now expect that some people will keep working from home even after the danger of coronavirus has receded—if not every day then several days a week. The Economist, "Peak capital London may have gone into a covid-accelerated decline," 23 May 2020 Officials said that it is expected to be days before the waters recede to normal river levels. NBC News, "Chemical plant and hazardous waste sites in path of Michigan flooding," 20 May 2020 Just as a hot job market was pulling in struggling Americans, the pandemic turned it ice cold, creating barriers to work that may persist after the outbreak recedes. David Rovella,, "Your Evening Briefing," 8 May 2020 As an intentional effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, at low cost to society, policymakers and businesses should continue to encourage working from home for jobs that allow it, even after the coronavirus crisis has receded. Matt Butner, Quartz at Work, "Remote work is a huge opportunity for high-impact climate policy," 5 May 2020 Life in American cities may not be the same after the coronavirus recedes. Peter Grier, The Christian Science Monitor, "How coronavirus will change the US, from where we live to the way we connect," 28 Apr. 2020 These missing startups could cast a pall over the economy long after the threat from the pandemic recedes. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "The Other Jobs Threat: New Business Drought," 23 Apr. 2020 There will be time after the crisis recedes to assess which agencies performed well, which performed badly — and what the verdict on Trump’s record as a crisis manager should be. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Trump’s ‘I’m not responsible’ presidency," 8 Apr. 2020 In the euro zone in particular, countries grappled with a shortage of credit and unemployment that only slowly receded from its highest level since the currency bloc was formed in 1999. Washington Post, "Negative Interest Rates," 1 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What comes next will depend on the pace of pharmaceutical research and consumer appetites for risk as the first wave of the coronavirus recedes. Patrick Clark,, "Hilton CEO Sees Long Recovery Starting With Cars, Not Planes," 10 May 2020 Deaths of innocents in Afghanistan once more eclipsed those in Syria and Iraq, as the Islamic State there has receded to rural areas and U.S. forces in Afghanistan had ramped up attacks on the Taliban. New York Times, "U.S. Military Killed 132 Civilians in Wars Last Year, Pentagon Says," 7 May 2020 Deep trouble Many of the factors implicated in this change in recovery patterns are likely to apply as the pandemic recedes. The Economist, "Free exchange Why the unemployed in America could face a lost decade," 2 May 2020 As fears recede that the health system will be overwhelmed, opponents are criticizing Johnson's government over shortages of protective equipment for medical workers and a lack of testing for the virus. Jill Lawless, Anchorage Daily News, "Back at work during his COVID-19 recovery, UK leader Boris Johnson faces growing dispute over reopening," 27 Apr. 2020 As fears recede that the health system will be overwhelmed, opponents are criticizing Johnson’s government over shortages of protective equipment for medical workers and a lack of testing for the virus. Jill Lawless, The Christian Science Monitor, "Boris Johnson goes back to work as U.K. pandemic ebbs," 26 Apr. 2020 Springfield: Republicans in the state’s House on Tuesday suggested ways to slowly reopen businesses and relax restrictions on public interaction as the threat from COVID-19 potentially recedes. USA TODAY, "Fast food jam, virtual Derby, mask seizures: News from around our 50 states," 24 Apr. 2020 As the shoreline recedes, dry lake bed is exposed, polluting the air with windblown dust that may contain pesticides and heavy metals. Los Angeles Times, "As a dying Salton Sea spews harmful dust, Imperial Valley water wars heat up again," 23 Apr. 2020 Then, as the floodwaters were still receding, the Covid-19 pandemic arrived. Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, March 30–April 5," 5 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recede.' 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 recede

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

1771, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for recede

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Latin recedere to go back, from re- + cedere to go

Verb (2)

re- + cede

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Time Traveler for recede

Time Traveler

The first known use of recede was in the 15th century

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Statistics for recede

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recede.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for recede


re·​cede | \ ri-ˈsēd How to pronounce recede (audio) \
receded; receding

Kids Definition of recede

1 : to move back or away Floodwaters are receding.
2 : to become smaller or weaker … I heard … footsteps receding.— Avi, Crispin

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More from Merriam-Webster on recede

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for recede

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recede

Spanish Central: Translation of recede

Nglish: Translation of recede for Spanish Speakers

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