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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Adalynn Garza, 9, was on the swings with her friend during recess when the shooting began. Steve Helling,, 31 May 2022 The bipartisan group of 10 senators working on the issue was to have a Zoom call on Tuesday to work out a framework for negotiations during the holiday recess, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, told reporters on Monday. New York Times, 30 May 2022 Luis Davila-Quiñones is accused of exposing his genitals to several Bellalago Academy students during recess on May 12, the agency said in a statement. Lisa Maria Garza, Orlando Sentinel, 23 May 2022 The unidentified student shared the candy with others during recess earlier this week at Michael J. Castori Elementary School. Jiovanni Lieggi, Fox News, 13 May 2022 During a forensic interview, the girl said she was called into Vandel’s classroom during recess one day during February or March of 2020. Chelsea Prince, ajc, 13 May 2022 In total, 37 first-graders -- ranging in age from 6 to 7 years old -- created and sold buttons for $1 each during recess. John Benson, cleveland, 28 Apr. 2022 National gauges for inflation alone reached their highest levels in four decades this month, a spike that left lawmakers hearing an earful from voters in their states and districts during the recess. Tony Romm, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Apr. 2022 Red push pistache, a tree with a large canopy cover, known for its red fall foliage, and fan west ash, which also produces a large shade canopy, will offer shade to the school’s large open field where kids play during recess. Zayna Syed, The Arizona Republic, 7 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Congress was unable to pass COVID-19 relief funds before heading out to recess earlier this month. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, 28 Apr. 2022 Circuit Court Judge Philip Jackson opted to recess the trial early after Novella Chase’s lengthy testimony, giving jurors until 9:15 a.m. Monday to hear the remaining witnesses. Lee O. Sanderlin, Baltimore Sun, 21 Mar. 2022 House and Senate leaders said the House and Senate plan to recess today. Michael R. Wickline, Arkansas Online, 8 Mar. 2022 Hoyer said the House would recess when McCarthy finishes his remarks. CBS News, 19 Nov. 2021 And on Monday, when the nearby city of Columbus did the same, its city council had to recess because of interruptions by anti-mask protesters, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, 16 Sep. 2021 That led the board to recess for 40 minutes and move to virtual-only meetings for the audience. Mj Slaby, The Indianapolis Star, 14 Dec. 2021 During and after the speakers’ remarks, the audience began applauding and refused to quiet down, forcing board chair Stella Pekarsky to temporarily recess the meeting. Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2021 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 See More

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.

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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Statistics for recess

Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Recess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for recess


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


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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