- 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 declining
A senior Iranian official in Pakistan later confirmed the strike took place, declining to elaborate.The Dangerous Drug-Funded Secret War Between Iran and Pakistan
December 29, 2014
Of course, declining or stagnant wage growth started well before this president took office.Time to Bring Back the Truman Democrats
December 21, 2014
Death by pills or lethal injection might be unnatural, but she believes that declining nourishment and medications is not.The Nurse Coaching People Through Death by Starvation
November 17, 2014
Just before the start of the season, The Wall Street Journal ran a feature on declining student attendance at games.How The University of Wisconsin Badgers Are Bucking the Big Ten Ticket Flop
October 31, 2014
(The Daily Beast is declining to name the official at the request of the White House).Foley Family to White House: You Saved Bergdahl. Why Not Our Son?
October 24, 2014
Could she, thus doomed, resolve on declining her brother's offer?Night and Morning, Complete
The sun set, and the light of thine eyes replaced not the declining day.Calderon The Courtier
But I found very little, for it was in a bad and declining way.The Uncommercial Traveller
This was more than I could have expected from my advanced age and declining health.Tales And Novels, Volume 9 (of 10)
During the last year of this service his health was declining.Cleveland Past and Present
- 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 declining
early 14c., "deterioration, degeneration," from Old French declin (see decline (v.)).
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.