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 The body of a 47-year-old man was found Friday in a Toyota Prius after waters from a flooded canal receded. Fox News, "4 dead in Texas after Tropical Storm Imelda brings catastrophic flooding," 20 Sep. 2019 After the floodwaters receded, Claridge had made his way into downtown Marsh Harbour. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, "A Haphazard Recovery in the Bahamas," 16 Sep. 2019 Frederick police are warning drivers to be cautious even after the water recedes as there may be debris left behind on the roads. CBS News, "Washington, D.C. area deluged by rain as floodwaters strand drivers," 8 July 2019 Predictably, the accompanying worldwide media coverage detailing the devastation decimated Kerala’s tourism industry—which accounts for 12% of its economy and 20% of its jobs—for months after the roiling waters receded. Alexandra Kirkman, Fortune, "Why You Should Visit Southern India on Your Next Vacation," 22 June 2019 After the water recedes, work crews must clean remaining silt off of park trails, sanitizing public areas that were flooded and work with Xcel Energy to get utilities up and running, Cloyd said. Zekriah Chaudhry, Twin Cities, "Pair of flooded St. Paul parks to reopen within weeks," 14 June 2019 After the waters recede, people will need medical care, food, and supplies to rebuild their homes and lives. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Why disaster relief is so hard," 25 Mar. 2019 Karl Brown Way is currently underwater and closed to through traffic until the waters recede. Chuck Gibson,, "Little Miami River overflows into Loveland business," 3 Apr. 2018 Four days after the region of 30 million people was struck by flash floods, waters have receded in many middle-class districts, but conditions remain grim in narrow riverside alleys where the city’s poor live. Niniek Karmini,, "Indonesian’s death toll from landslides, flash floods rises to 60," 4 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Slowly the prohibition against men crying is receding, at least under certain conditions. Maureen Stanton, Longreads, "Through a Glass, Tearfully," 17 Jan. 2020 Residents of Indonesia’s capital who had been forced into shelters by widespread flooding began returning to their homes Thursday as the waters started to recede, though the death toll from the disaster jumped to 30. Washington Post, "Floods in Indonesia capital recede as death toll reaches 30," 2 Jan. 2020 And despite the work, the glacier is still receding. USA Today, "10 years to save planet Earth: Here are 6 imaginative climate change solutions," 24 Dec. 2019 Previous taboos that might have discouraged adults from enjoying children’s entertainment were quickly receding. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "Adult Animation Is Pushing New Boundaries. A Look Inside Its Evolution from The Simpsons to BoJack Horseman," 20 Dec. 2019 These glaciers, whose water nourishes lands home to over a billion people, are receding at an alarming rate as global temperatures rise. Maddie Stone, Anchorage Daily News, "World’s highest weather stations reveal intense sunshine may be melting ice on Mount Everest," 13 Dec. 2019 The lake level continued receding, dropping by 11cm during the week under review, before closing at 476.93m (10% usable storage) on Dec. 9, according to ZRA. Farai Shawn Matiashe, Quartz Africa, "Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, is running dry due to climate change," 11 Dec. 2019 At the end of the last ice age about 11,000 years ago, the cool, moist conifer forests that once carpeted much of eastern and northern Arizona receded higher as the land grew warmer and drier. Debra Utacia Krol, azcentral, "The Mount Graham red squirrel continues its slow recovery. Now it faces a new foe.," 4 Dec. 2019 Sean Rayford/Getty Images The floodwaters are finally starting to recede from Hurricane Florence, a storm that dumped upward of 35 inches of rain in places and more than 10 trillion gallons across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Hurricane Florence caused up to $22 billion in damages. Climate change made the storm worse.," 3 Oct. 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

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recede.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 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

Comments on recede

What made you want to look up recede? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assert without proof or before proving

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