verb (used with object), de·clined, de·clin·ing.

verb (used without object), de·clined, de·clin·ing.


Nearby words

  1. declinable,
  2. declinate,
  3. declination,
  4. declinatory,
  5. declinature,
  6. decline and fall of the roman empire, the,
  7. declinometer,
  8. declive,
  9. declivitous,
  10. declivity

Origin of decline

1275–1325; (v.) Middle English declinen < Old French: to inflect, turn aside, sink < Latin dēclīnāre to slope, incline, bend; compare Greek klī́nein to lean1; (noun) Middle English declin < Old French, derivative of decliner

1. reject. See refuse1. 9. degenerate, decay, weaken, diminish, languish. 13. hill. 15. retrogression, degeneration, enfeeblement, weakening.

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decline

British Dictionary definitions for decline



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
Derived Formsdeclinable, adjectivedecliner, noun

Word Origin for decline

C14: from Old French decliner to inflect, turn away, sink, from Latin dēclīnāre to bend away, inflect grammatically

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 decline
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper