[dih-klen-shuh n]


  1. the inflection of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives for categories such as case and number.
  2. the whole set of inflected forms of such a word, or the recital thereof in a fixed order.
  3. a class of such words having similar sets of inflected forms: the Latin second declension.
an act or instance of declining.
a bending, sloping, or moving downward: land with a gentle declension toward the sea.
deterioration; decline.
deviation, as from a standard.

Origin of declension

1400–50; late Middle English declenson, declynson (with suffix later assimilated to -sion), by stress retraction and syncope < Old French declinaison < Latin dēclīnātiō declination Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for declension

Historical Examples of declension

British Dictionary definitions for declension



  1. inflection of nouns, pronouns, or adjectives for case, number, and gender
  2. the complete set of the inflections of such a word"puella" is a first-declension noun in Latin
a decline or deviation from a standard, belief, etc
a downward slope or bend
Derived Formsdeclensional, adjectivedeclensionally, adverb

Word Origin for declension

C15: from Latin dēclīnātiō, literally: a bending aside, hence variation, inflection; see decline
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 declension

mid-15c., ultimately from Latin declinationem (nominative declinatio), noun of action from past participle stem of declinare (see decline); perhaps via French; "the form is irregular, and its history obscure" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper