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verb (used without object), re·ced·ed, re·ced·ing.
  1. to go or move away; retreat; go to or toward a more distant point; withdraw.
  2. to become more distant.
  3. (of a color, form, etc., on a flat surface) to move away or be perceived as moving away from an observer, especially as giving the illusion of space.Compare advance(def 15).
  4. to slope backward: a chin that recedes.
  5. to draw back or withdraw from a conclusion, viewpoint, undertaking, promise, etc.
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Origin of recede

1470–80; < Latin recēdere to go, fall back, equivalent to re- re- + cēdere to withdraw, go; see cede
Can be confusedrecede reseed

Synonyms for recede

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verb (used with object), re·ced·ed, re·ced·ing.
  1. to cede back; yield or grant to a former possessor.
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Origin of recede

First recorded in 1765–75; re- + cede
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for receding

reduce, fade, ebb, wane, dwindle, lessen, taper, subside, decrease, sink, abate, diminish, shrink, retreat, retrogress, decline, retire, return, depart, drop

Examples from the Web for receding

Contemporary Examples of receding

Historical Examples of receding

  • Besides, did I not reserve a power of receding, as I saw fit?

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • There can be no doubt that the faith in war, and in the Divine guidance of war, is receding.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • Receding footsteps 81 told him that the constable was leaving.

    The Coyote

    James Roberts

  • He could barely make out the sodden steps and––they were receding.

    The Web of the Golden Spider

    Frederick Orin Bartlett

  • Sometimes the forehead is receding, as in apes (19%), or low and narrow (10%).

    Criminal Man

    Gina Lombroso-Ferrero

British Dictionary definitions for receding


verb (intr)
  1. to withdraw from a point or limit; go backthe tide receded
  2. to become more distanthopes of rescue receded
  3. to slope backwardsapes have receding foreheads
    1. (of a man's hair) to cease to grow at the temples and above the forehead
    2. (of a man) to start to go bald in this way
  4. to decline in value or character
  5. (usually foll by from) to draw back or retreat, as from a promise
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Word Origin for recede

C15: from Latin recēdere to go back, from re- + cēdere to yield, cede
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 receding



early 15c., from Middle French receder, from Latin recedere "to go back, fall back; withdraw, depart, retire," from re- "back" (see re-) + cedere "to go" (see cede). Related: Receded; receding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper