re·​cess | \ ˈrē-ˌses How to pronounce recess (audio) , ri-ˈ \

Definition of recess

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the action of receding : recession
2 : a hidden, secret, or secluded place or part
3a : indentation, cleft a deep recess in the hill
b : alcove a recess lined with books
4 : a suspension of business or procedure often for rest or relaxation children playing at recess


recessed; recessing; recesses

Definition of recess (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to put into a recess recessed lighting
2 : to make a recess in
3 : to interrupt for a recess

intransitive verb

: to take a recess

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Synonyms for recess

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of recess in a Sentence

Noun The students play outside after lunch and at recess. Do you have morning recess? The Senate debates will continue after the August recess. The Senate wanted to vote on the bill before recess. Verb The trial recessed for the holidays. The judge decided to recess the trial for the holidays.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The select committee has been meeting twice a week, even during Congress’s summer recess, as its members plan their next steps. Luke Broadwater, New York Times, 1 Sep. 2021 The bill was approved despite an agreement in the Senate not to consider legislation during the August recess. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2021 The bill was approved by unanimous consent during the Senate's August recess when the chamber came into session for a quick pro-forma session where no other business was conducted. Clare Foran And Ali Zaslav, CNN, 31 Aug. 2021 Children are allowed to remove their masks while outside, such as during recess, and while eating lunch, the plan says. Jennifer Johnson,, 17 Aug. 2021 But two years later, Clinton used executive privilege to appoint him during the Congressional recess. NBC News, 14 Aug. 2021 Lawmakers are expected to begin those negotiations over Zoom and phone calls during the August recess. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, 11 Aug. 2021 Playgrounds will be fully accessible to all students during recess. Dallas News, 30 July 2021 Sasser used the device during a recess to interview a source in the courtroom. Bryan Anderson, Star Tribune, 7 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The House rejected Senate Bill 731, by Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Ozark, with a 41-46 vote Friday morning before approving a resolution allowing the Legislature to recess and officially adjourn Oct. 15. Rachel Herzog, Arkansas Online, 9 Oct. 2021 Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has vowed to keep lawmakers in session, saying the Senate won't recess for August until progress is made on both bills. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 9 Aug. 2021 The Senate is set to recess ahead of Labor Day, making the prospects of action on the legislation unclear. Aaron Morrison, ajc, 28 Aug. 2021 At one point during the board’s July 21 meeting, prior to the budget vote, some board members, without voting to recess the meeting, began having private discussions with each other and with library attorney Dennis Walsh on the dais. Jennifer Johnson,, 22 July 2021 The House returns to Washington next week, but its focus will be infrastructure and voting rights, and it is expected to immediately recess again once key votes on those issues are handled. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 18 Aug. 2021 Altogether, the speeches stretched from around 4 p.m. to close to 9 p.m., at which point the school board voted to recess and reconvene afresh the next day. Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2021 Schumer has vowed to keep lawmakers in session, saying the Senate won't recess for August until progress is made on both bills., 8 Aug. 2021 Time is becoming a critical problem for this and other initiatives, since Congress is scheduled to recess for August. Karl Rove, WSJ, 21 July 2021

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


1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1809, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for recess


Latin recessus, from recedere to recede

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Dictionary Entries Near recess



recess bed

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Statistics for recess

Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Recess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for recess



English Language Learners Definition of recess

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a short period of time during the school day when children can play
: a usually brief period of time during which regular activity in a court of law or in a government stops
: a dark, hidden place or part



English Language Learners Definition of recess (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stop regular activity in a court of law or in a government for a usually short period of time


re·​cess | \ ˈrē-ˌses How to pronounce recess (audio) , ri-ˈses \

Kids Definition of recess

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a brief period for relaxation between work periods The students play ball at recess.
2 : a secret or hidden place The droplets of water came from somewhere high up in the dark recesses of the roof …— Brian Jacques, Redwall
3 : a hollow cut or built into a surface (as a wall) The room has a recess lined with books.
4 : a brief time off from the activity of a court


recessed; recessing

Kids Definition of recess (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put into a hollow space The light fixture was recessed into the ceiling.
2 : to interrupt for or take a brief time off


re·​cess | \ ˈrē-ˌses How to pronounce recess (audio) , ri-ˈ How to pronounce recess (audio) \

Medical Definition of recess

: an anatomical depression or cleft : fossa

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re·​cess | \ ˈrē-ˌses, ri-ˈses How to pronounce recess (audio) \

Legal Definition of recess

: a temporary adjournment of a trial, hearing, or legislative session

Other Words from recess

recess verb

More from Merriam-Webster on recess

Nglish: Translation of recess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of recess for Arabic Speakers


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