• synonyms


[ri-sesh-uh n]
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  1. the act of receding or withdrawing.
  2. a receding part of a wall, building, etc.
  3. a withdrawing procession, as at the end of a religious service.
  4. Economics. a period of an economic contraction, sometimes limited in scope or duration.Compare depression(def 7).

Origin of recession1

First recorded in 1640–50, recession is from the Latin word recessiōn- (stem of recessiō). See recess, -ion


[ree-sesh-uh n]
  1. a return of ownership to a former possessor.

Origin of recession2

First recorded in 1885–90; re- + cession
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for recession


  1. a temporary depression in economic activity or prosperity
  2. the withdrawal of the clergy and choir in procession from the chancel at the conclusion of a church service
  3. the act of receding
  4. a part of a building, wall, etc, that recedes

Word Origin

C17: from Latin recessio; see recess


  1. the act of restoring possession to a former owner

Word Origin

C19: from re- + cession
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for recession


1640s, "act of receding, a going back," from French récession "a going backward, a withdrawing," and directly from Latin recessionem (nominative recessio) "a going back," noun of action from past participle stem of recedere (see recede).

Sense of "temporary decline in economic activity," 1929, noun of action from recess (q.v.):

The material prosperity of the United States is too firmly based, in our opinion, for a revival in industrial activity -- even if we have to face an immediate recession of some magnitude -- to be long delayed. ["Economist," Nov. 2, 1929]

Ayto notes, "There was more than a hint of euphemism in the coining of this term."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

recession in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. The withdrawal or retreating of tissue from its normal position.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

recession in Culture


A general business slump, less severe than a depression.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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