verb (used without object), re·ced·ed, re·ced·ing.

to go or move away; retreat; go to or toward a more distant point; withdraw.
to become more distant.
(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).
to slope backward: a chin that recedes.
to draw back or withdraw from a conclusion, viewpoint, undertaking, promise, etc.

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



verb (used with object), re·ced·ed, re·ced·ing.

to cede back; yield or grant to a former possessor.

Origin of recede

First recorded in 1765–75; re- + cede Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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)

to withdraw from a point or limit; go backthe tide receded
to become more distanthopes of rescue receded
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
to decline in value or character
(usually foll by from) to draw back or retreat, as from a promise

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper