• synonyms


[dek-luh-ney-shuh n]
See more synonyms for declination on Thesaurus.com
  1. a bending, sloping, or moving downward.
  2. deterioration; decline.
  3. a swerving or deviating, as from a standard.
  4. a polite refusal.
  5. Astronomy. the angular distance of a heavenly body from the celestial equator, measured on the great circle passing through the celestial pole and the body.
  6. variation(def 8).
  7. the formal refusal by a nominee of a nomination to public office.
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Origin of declination

1350–1400; Middle English declinacioun < Old French declinacion < Latin dēclīnātiōn- (stem of dēclīnātiō), equivalent to dēclīnāt(us), literally, turned aside (past participle of dēclīnāre; see decline, -ate1) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsdec·li·na·tion·al, adjectivepre·dec·li·na·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for declination

decline, rejection, turndown, decay, degeneracy, decadence, declension, degeneration, decadency, declining, decaying

Examples from the Web for declination

Historical Examples of declination

  • At that time the declination of the sun is 23½ north of the equatorial line.

    The Solar Magnet

    Sterner St. Paul Meek

  • Simultaneously the declination is noted by A in the darkness.

    Lectures on Stellar Statistics

    Carl Vilhelm Ludvig Charlier

  • You will know whether the star is North or South of you by its declination.

    Lectures in Navigation

    Ernest Gallaudet Draper

  • Before going further, let us review a few facts about Declination.

    Lectures in Navigation

    Ernest Gallaudet Draper

  • Then the declination of the sun at that moment would be 15 N.

    Lectures in Navigation

    Ernest Gallaudet Draper

British Dictionary definitions for declination


  1. astronomy the angular distance, esp in degrees, of a star, planet, etc, from the celestial equator measured north (positive) or south (negative) along the great circle passing through the celestial poles and the bodySymbol: δ Compare: right ascension
  2. See magnetic declination
  3. a refusal, esp a courteous or formal one
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Derived Formsdeclinational, adjective
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 declination


late 14c. as a term in astronomy, from Old French declinacion (Modern French déclinaison), from Latin declinationem (nominative declinatio), noun of action from past participle stem of declinare (see decline). It took on various other senses 15c.-17c., most now obsolete.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

declination in Medicine


  1. A bending, sloping, or other deviation from a normal vertical position.
  2. A deviation of the vertical meridian of the eye to one or the other side due to rotation of the eyeball about its anteroposterior axis.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

declination in Science


  1. On the celestial sphere, the position of a celestial object north or south of the celestial equator. Declination is measured in degrees along a great circle drawn through the object being measured and the north and south celestial poles, with positive values north of the celestial equator and negative values south of it, so that the equator itself is 0° and the north and south celestial poles are +90° and -90° declination respectively. See more at equatorial coordinate system.
  2. See magnetic declination.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.