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 Authorities say the total number will not be available until after floodwaters recede. Alissa Zhu, USA TODAY, "Historic flooding slams Mississippi as river continues to rise: 'This thing isn't over yet'," 16 Feb. 2020 Slowly the prohibition against men crying is receding, at least under certain conditions. Maureen Stanton, Longreads, "Through a Glass, Tearfully," 17 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 This happens at a time when the monsoon is receding from northern India, leaving behind depressed air that traps the pollutants. Shivam Vij, Quartz India, "India’s Green Revolution, which once staved off famines, is now threatening lives," 7 Nov. 2019 The inland business benefited from summer weather and better operating conditions as floodwaters receded along the Mississippi River. Andrea Leinfelder, Houston Chronicle, "Kirby Corp. Q3 earnings up 15 percent despite oilfield slowdown," 25 Oct. 2019 Meanwhile, skies cleared and floodwaters receded Saturday from North Carolina’s Outer Banks, leaving behind a muddy trail of destruction wrought by Hurricane Dorian, which turned north and began lashing parts of eastern Canada. Mariel Padilla,, "A Virginia university offers free semester to students in Bahamas displaced by hurricane," 7 Sep. 2019 Many others thronged the airport terminal, hoping to land a seat on private flights, which began arriving on Thursday after floodwaters had receded from the tarmac. Kirk Semple, New York Times, "On Dorian-Battered Island, What’s Left? Virtually Nothing," 6 Sep. 2019 As the floodwaters recede, the bodies of previously undiscovered victims are being recovered, said state officials Thursday. Jessie Yeung, Swati Gupta And Sophia Saifi, CNN, "227 dead after monsoon floods devastate South Asia," 18 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Authorities say the total number will not be available until after floodwaters recede. Alissa Zhu, USA TODAY, "Historic flooding slams Mississippi as river continues to rise: 'This thing isn't over yet'," 16 Feb. 2020 Earlier this year, however, Saadiq receded into his memories and reemerged an artist. oregonlive, "29 February concerts to love for Portland’s best live music," 28 Jan. 2020 Cleanup kits will be available after the sewage has receded, according to the Red Cross. Michael Wilson, New York Times, "Cooking Grease Down a Drain Eyed in Sewage Flood of at Least 80 Homes," 30 Nov. 2019 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 But migraines can lead to hangovers, too, one that arises after the pain recedes. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "Here’s What You Need to Know About ‘Migraine Hangovers’," 13 Jan. 2018 That strike killed no Americans and the threat of war has receded for now, but further conflict seems likely. The Economist, "Crude calculus Oil markets shrug off tension in the Middle East," 18 Jan. 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

19 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recede.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 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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