- to withhold or deny consent to do, enter into or upon, etc.; refuse: He declined to say more about it.
- to express inability or reluctance to accept; refuse with courtesy: to decline an invitation; to decline an offer.
- to cause to slope or incline downward.
- to inflect (a noun, pronoun, or adjective), as Latin puella, declined puella, puellae, puellae, puellam, puella in the five cases of the singular.
- to recite or display all or some subset of the inflected forms of a noun, pronoun, or adjective in a fixed order.
- to express courteous refusal; refuse: We sent him an invitation but he declined.
- to bend or slant down; slope downward; descend: The hill declines to the lake.
- (of pathways, routes, objects, etc.) to follow a downward course or path: The sun declined in the skies.
- to draw toward the close, as the day.
- to fail in strength, vigor, character, value, etc.; deteriorate.
- to fail or dwindle; sink or fade away: to decline in popularity.
- to descend, as to an unworthy level; stoop.
- Grammar. to be characterized by declension.
- a downward slope; declivity.
- a downward movement, as of prices or population; diminution: a decline in the stock market.
- a failing or gradual loss, as in strength, character, power, or value; deterioration: the decline of the Roman Empire.
- a gradual deterioration of the physical powers, as in later life or in disease: After his seventieth birthday he went into a decline.
- progress downward or toward the close, as of the sun or the day.
- the later years or last part: He became an editor in the decline of his life.
Origin of decline
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for decline
Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said the decline was a result of an effort to decrease gang violence.America’s 2014 Murder Capital
January 3, 2015
The loss of this “expectation” game began his decline and ultimate withdrawal from the race.The World’s Toughest Political Quiz
December 31, 2014
Thanks to CompStat and strategies added by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, crime continued to decline.Eric Garner Was Just a Number to Them
December 5, 2014
America, Stephens writes, is not necessarily in “decline” but rather “retreat.”‘America in Retreat’: Why Neo-Isolationism Exploded Under Obama and What We Can Do About It
December 1, 2014
This means a decline in habitat quality for grazers like bison and elk, whose winter-killed carcasses grizzlies feed upon.What It Takes to Kill a Grizzly Bear
November 23, 2014
Percival watched the decline with a conviction that he was dreaming.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
They only thought a lawyer could help them--but I'm far too busy--of course I decline.Viviette
William J. Locke
If we permit our economy to drift and decline, the vulnerable will suffer most.
We protect iron-workers, and decline to protect our own daughters.
And so for the present we take leave of the Athenians, in the hour of their decline.Stories from Thucydides
H. L. Havell
- to refuse to do or accept (something), esp politely
- (intr) to grow smaller; diminishdemand has declined over the years
- to slope or cause to slope downwards
- (intr) to deteriorate gradually, as in quality, health, or character
- grammar to state or list the inflections of (a noun, adjective, or pronoun), or (of a noun, adjective, or pronoun) to be inflected for number, case, or genderCompare conjugate (def. 1)
- gradual deterioration or loss
- a movement downwards or towards something smaller; diminution
- a downward slope; declivity
- archaic any slowly progressive disease, such as tuberculosis
Word Origin and History for decline
late 14c., "to turn aside, deviate," from Old French decliner "to sink, decline, degenerate, turn aside," from Latin declinare "to lower, avoid, deviate, to bend from, inflect," from de- "from" (see de-) + clinare "to bend," from PIE *klei-n-, suffixed form of *klei- "to lean" (see lean (v.)). Sense has been altered since c.1400 by interpretation of de- as "downward." Meaning "not to consent, politely refuse," is from 1630s. Related: Declined; declining.
early 14c., "deterioration, degeneration," from Old French declin (see decline (v.)).