[ dih-klen-shuh n ]
/ dɪˈklɛn ʃən /


  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

British Dictionary definitions for declension


/ (dɪˈklɛnʃən) /


  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