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

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


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
Related formsde·clin·er, nounpre·de·cline, verb (used with object), pre·de·clined, pre·de·clin··de·cline, verb, re·de·clined, re·de·clin·ing, nounun·de·clined, adjectiveun·de·clin·ing, adjective

Synonyms for decline

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

Antonyms for decline

6. rise. 9. improve. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for declined

Contemporary Examples of declined

Historical Examples of declined

  • He said, coolly, that he would relieve me of the duty, but I declined his obliging offer.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • But Mr. Gladstone, while acknowledging the compliment, declined because of his age.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • Mr. Gladstone was invited to the vacant place, but declined.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • "Come, George, fill up your glass," said Ashton repeatedly; but George declined.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • Handel declined the invitation, but resolved to go to Italy as soon as he could do so "on his own bottom."


    Edward J. Dent

British Dictionary definitions for declined



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 declined



early 14c., "deterioration, degeneration," from Old French declin (see decline (v.)).



late 14c., "to turn aside, deviate," from Old French decliner "to sink, decline, degenerate, turn aside," from Latin declinare "to lower, avoid, deviate, to bend from, inflect," from de- "from" (see de-) + clinare "to bend," from PIE *klei-n-, suffixed form of *klei- "to lean" (see lean (v.)). Sense has been altered since c.1400 by interpretation of de- as "downward." Meaning "not to consent, politely refuse," is from 1630s. Related: Declined; declining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper