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 midges that spread the disease take advantage of mud flats exposed as waters recede in high water years, Long said. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A midge-borne disease has killed hundreds of deer in Iowa but so far Wisconsin hasn't been hit as hard," 11 Sep. 2019 On some of the Great Lakes, water has started to recede from the summer crest. Mitch Smith, New York Times, "Summer on the Swollen Great Lakes," 24 Aug. 2019 As the water from Wednesday morning's storms receded, people worried about what might come next. Author: Chevel Johnson, Janet Mcconnaughey, Anchorage Daily News, "Flooding swamps New Orleans; possible hurricane coming next," 11 July 2019 As the water from Wednesday morning's storms receded, people worried about what might come next. CBS News, "Louisiana braces for possible hurricane carrying double trouble," 11 July 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 With rains decreasing, the water has started receding in parts of Kerala but thousands of people remain cut off and in need of help. Aijaz Rahi, The Seattle Times, "Indians begin massive cleanup as rains diminish in Kerala," 20 Aug. 2018 But in 2017, as seasonal ice receded amid rising global temperatures, a tanker cleared the route without an icebreaker for the first time ever. NBC News, "Russia's 'floating Chernobyl' nuclear plant begins voyage north," 23 Aug. 2019 As this grounding line recedes, bits of the ice shelf break off. The Economist, "Climate change is a remorseless threat to the world’s coasts," 17 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

He was universally liked enough that even players who would typically recede into the background stepped up and talked about their friend on Monday. Conor Orr,, "Colts Aren’t Letting Andrew Luck’s Retirement Drag Them Down," 27 Aug. 2019 Skanes was the Huskies’ top returner in 2017 before receding last year, while Thompkins has kick-return experience from his days at Toledo. Alex Putterman,, "UConn special teams preview: Competition continues at kicker, returner," 20 Aug. 2019 The guests trickled into the parlor, gazing out the window at the receding evening light. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "Silicon Valley’s Crisis of Conscience," 19 Aug. 2019 At the same time the receding grounding line allows water to undermine the ice sheet proper, turning more of the sheet into shelf and accelerating its demise (see diagram). The Economist, "Climate change is a remorseless threat to the world’s coasts," 17 Aug. 2019 The glaciers have been receding because their snouts spill over the edge of the continent into the surrounding ocean, which is warmer than the ice. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "West Antarctica is melting—and it’s our fault," 12 Aug. 2019 Designer Alexander Dodge sets the tale within receding stone walls open upstage to the view of distant mountains. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "A fairy-tale world premiere and Janácek's brutal but redemptive 'Jenufa' impress at Santa Fe Opera," 6 Aug. 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

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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Statistics for recede

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for recede

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recede

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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 make a temporary encampment

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