See more synonyms for decline on
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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.

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

See more synonyms for on
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. 2018

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

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

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

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

    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


  1. to refuse to do or accept (something), esp politely
  2. (intr) to grow smaller; diminishdemand 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 genderCompare conjugate (def. 1)
  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
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