1 of 2

noun (1)

re·​ces·​sion ri-ˈse-shən How to pronounce recession (audio)
plural recessions
: the act or action of receding : withdrawal
the recession of floodwaters
The exposed roots of teeth, commonly caused by gum recession, can be protected by using a composite resin in combination with an adhesive resin.American Dental Association
economics : a period of significantly reduced general economic activity that is marked especially by declines in employment and production and that lasts more than a few months
The country is in a recession.
a period of economic recession
The spurt of economic growth that usually follows recessions isn't in sight this time.David Wessel
compare depression sense 2a
: a departing procession (as of clergy and choir at the end of a church service)
recessionary adjective


2 of 2

noun (2)

re·​ces·​sion (ˌ)rē-ˈse-shən How to pronounce recession (audio)
: the act of ceding back to a former possessor

Examples of recession in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Headwinds Mounting Already, the U.K. and Japan have fallen into a recession after two quarters of negative GDP growth. Pamela N. Danziger, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 Those promises remain largely unmet, and Britain's economic growth has come to a virtual standstill, with the country slipping into recession at the end of 2023 for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Jill Lawless The Associated Press,, 17 Feb. 2024 The United Kingdom also fell into recession in the final months of 2023 and US retail sales tumbled much more than expected in January. Diksha Madhok, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 Share prices have been pressing higher despite persisting signs of weakness in the Japanese economy, which fell into recession in the last quarter of 2023. Elaine Kurtenbach, Quartz, 16 Feb. 2024 In 2007, a section of the Kernersville factory, where the Dudley company manufactured 90 percent of its products, was damaged in a fire, and then the recession hit. Penelope Green, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 As some of the world’s biggest economies stumble into recession, the United States keeps chugging along. Stan Choe, Fortune, 16 Feb. 2024 Just after Valentine’s Day, Britain was met with the grim news that its economy had slid into a recession at the end of last year. Byprarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 16 Feb. 2024 With inflation fading, instead of cutting interest rates right away, Powell is attempting to slowly lower rates over time to avoid the type of whipsaw monetary policy that can spark recessions. Will Daniel, Fortune, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'recession.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (2)

re- + cession

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1828, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of recession was in 1630

Dictionary Entries Near recession

Cite this Entry

“Recession.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the act or fact of receding or withdrawing
: a group of individuals departing in an orderly often ceremonial way
: a downward turn in business activity
also : the period of such a downward turn

Medical Definition


re·​ces·​sion ri-ˈsesh-ən How to pronounce recession (audio)
: pathological withdrawal of tissue from its normal position
advanced gum recession

More from Merriam-Webster on recession

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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