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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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 often happens is that a novel variant of flu virus spreads around the world and then recedes, kind of like a tsunami. John Lauerman,, "Why a Second Wave of Covid-19 Is Already a Worry," 23 May 2020 In a sign of receding tensions in international finance, the cost to borrow dollars against other currencies markets has sharply reversed in recent days. Caitlin Ostroff, WSJ, "Dollar Funding Strains Ease in International Markets," 3 Apr. 2020 Before receding into the shadows himself, Obi-Wan sends out a distress signal (as shown in the game) to remaining Jedi, some of which were also able to escape. Nick Romano,, "How Jedi: Fallen Order connects to the larger Star Wars universe," 21 Nov. 2019 The weaver and designer sees the cover as a sign of receding bigotry in Mexico toward muxes. NBC News, "Vogue cover spotlights Mexico's indigenous transgender women," 21 Nov. 2019 Officials took advantage of receding floodwaters to begin assessing how many homes and cars were flooded. Juan A. Lozano, Houston Chronicle, "Houston area sees relief, rescues after Imelda leaves 5 dead," 21 Sep. 2019 Once inside, you're confronted with endlessly receding vistas of fabric phalluses or pumpkins sprinkled with polka dots, or winking lights that send your imagination zooming off like a spaceship in search of supernovas and black holes. Steven Litt,, "Kusama 'Infinity Mirrors' show in Toronto offers preview of what's coming to Cleveland (photos)," 6 May 2018 Los Angeles County is on pace to pass 100 breweries in 2018, and the tide shows no sign of receding. John Verive,, "Why craft beer lovers should be drinking in Covina and Pomona," 4 Apr. 2018 There are new standard bearers to lead the position every couple of years, with the old guard slowly but surely receding from view. Michael Beller,, "How to Find a Catcher—the Shallowest Position—in Your Fantasy Baseball Draft," 7 Feb. 2018

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 30 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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