View synonyms for decline


[ dih-klahyn ]

verb (used with object)

, de·clined, de·clin·ing.
  1. to withhold or deny consent to do, enter into or upon, etc.; refuse:

    He declined to say more about it.

    Synonyms: reject

  2. to express inability or reluctance to accept; refuse with courtesy:

    to decline an invitation; to decline an offer.

  3. to cause to slope or incline downward.
  4. Grammar.
    1. to inflect (a noun, pronoun, or adjective), as Latin puella, declined puella, puellae, puellae, puellam, puella in the five cases of the singular.
    2. to recite or display all or some subset of the inflected forms of a noun, pronoun, or adjective in a fixed order.

verb (used without object)

, de·clined, de·clin·ing.
  1. to express courteous refusal; refuse:

    We sent him an invitation but he declined.

  2. to bend or slant down; slope downward; descend:

    The hill declines to the lake.

    Antonyms: rise

  3. (of pathways, routes, objects, etc.) to follow a downward course or path:

    The sun declined in the skies.

  4. to draw toward the close, as the day.
  5. to fail in strength, vigor, character, value, etc.; deteriorate.

    Synonyms: languish, diminish, weaken, decay, degenerate

    Antonyms: improve

  6. to fail or dwindle; sink or fade away:

    to decline in popularity.

  7. to descend, as to an unworthy level; stoop.
  8. Grammar. to be characterized by declension.


  1. a downward slope; declivity.

    Synonyms: hill

  2. a downward movement, as of prices or population; diminution:

    a decline in the stock market.

  3. a failing or gradual loss, as in strength, character, power, or value; deterioration:

    the decline of the Roman Empire.

    Synonyms: enfeeblement, degeneration, retrogression

  4. a gradual deterioration of the physical powers, as in later life or in disease:

    After his seventieth birthday he went into a decline.

  5. progress downward or toward the close, as of the sun or the day.
  6. the later years or last part:

    He became an editor in the decline of his life.


/ dɪˈklaɪn /


  1. to refuse to do or accept (something), esp politely
  2. intr to grow smaller; diminish

    demand has declined over the years

  3. to slope or cause to slope downwards
  4. intr to deteriorate gradually, as in quality, health, or character
  5. 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 gender Compare conjugate


  1. gradual deterioration or loss
  2. a movement downwards or towards something smaller; diminution
  3. a downward slope; declivity
  4. archaic.
    any slowly progressive disease, such as tuberculosis

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Derived Forms

  • deˈclinable, adjective
  • deˈcliner, noun

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Other Words From

  • de·cliner noun
  • prede·cline verb (used with object) predeclined predeclining
  • rede·cline verb redeclined redeclining noun
  • unde·clined adjective
  • unde·clining adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of decline1

First recorded in 1275–1325; (verb) Middle English declinen, from Old French: “to inflect, turn aside, sink,” from Latin dēclīnāre “to slope, incline, bend”; compare Greek klī́nein “to lean” ( lean 1 ); (noun) Middle English declin, from Old French, derivative of decliner

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Word History and Origins

Origin of decline1

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

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Synonym Study

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Example Sentences

You can also start at the top and lower your machine backwards over small cut-banks and other declines.

Pitching speed — which directly correlates to opposing batters’ offensive performance — typically begins to slow in a pitcher’s late 20s, and the decline accelerates in his 30s.

Bulatao also said Linick’s office had experienced a “double-digit decline since 2016” in employee satisfaction metrics.

After 2018, Delaware Republicans were locked out of power in the state, a punctuation mark on a long decline.

Across the United States, some 162 million people — nearly 1 in 2 — will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water.

Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said the decline was a result of an effort to decrease gang violence.

The loss of this “expectation” game began his decline and ultimate withdrawal from the race.

When A Christmas Carol was published just in time for the Christmas of 1843, the holiday had been in a long decline in England.

Thanks to CompStat and strategies added by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, crime continued to decline.

America, Stephens writes, is not necessarily in “decline” but rather “retreat.”

I am ready Madam,—for I have sufficiently experienced the folly of my presuming to decline it.

And I, for one, absolutely decline to believe in this preposterous story of his about a bull-dog.

He continued active till his 35th year, when he began to decline, and died of water in the chest.

They are made in kindness, and show interest, but if you decline seeing such callers, there is no offence given.

If your state of health deprives you of appetite, it is bad enough for you to decline the invitation to dine out.