- The definition of a decline is a lessening or failing.
- An example of decline is the collapse of the Roman Empire.
- An example of decline is the quality of a glass of milk as it starts to sour over time.
- An example of decline is the failing health of someone with cancer.
- Decline is defined as to refuse something, slope downward, become less or to sink from view.
- An example of decline is someone saying no when they've been asked out to dinner.
- An example of decline is a ski run.
- An example of decline is the unemployment rate going from 9% to 7.5%.
- An example of decline is the sun setting in the West.
intransitive verb-·clined′, -·clin′ing
- to bend, turn, or slope downward or aside
- to sink, as the setting sun
- to approach the end; wane: the day is declining
- to lessen in force, health, value, etc.; deteriorate; decay
- to descend to behavior that is base or immoral
- to refuse to accept or do something, esp. in a way that is formally polite
Origin of declineMiddle English declinen from Old French decliner, to bend, turn aside from Classical Latin declinare, to bend from, inflect from de-, from (see de-) + clinare, to bend: see lean
- to cause to bend or slope downward or aside
- to refuse, esp. in a formally polite way: I must decline your offer
- Gram. to inflect (a noun, pronoun, or adjective) systematically, giving its different forms according to case, number, and gender
- a declining or becoming less, smaller, etc.; decay
- a failing of health, etc.
- a period of decline
- the last part: the decline of life
- Archaic a wasting disease
- a downward slope
verbde·clined, de·clin·ing, de·clines
- To express polite refusal: I wanted to invite them but I was afraid they would decline.
- a. To slope downward; descend: The roof declines at a steep angle.b. To bend downward; droop: boughs declining toward the ground.
- To degrade or lower oneself; stoop: refused to decline to their level of behavior.
- To deteriorate gradually; fail: His health has been declining for years.
- a. To sink, as the setting sun.b. To draw to a gradual close: We made our way home as the day declined.
- To refuse politely: I declined their offer of help. See Synonyms at refuse1.
- To cause to slope or bend downward.
- Grammar To inflect (a noun, a pronoun, or an adjective) for number and case.
- The process or result of declining, especially:a. A gradual deterioration, as in numbers, activity, or quality: “overwhelming evidence that fish stocks … are in decline” ( Jonathan Bocknek )b. A downward movement or fall, as in price.c. A deterioration of health: the patient's rapid decline.
- A downward slope; a declivity: the sharp decline of the dunes to the sea.
Origin of declineMiddle English declinen from Old French decliner from Latin dēclīnāre to turn away, bend downward, change the form of a word dē- de- -clīnāre to lean, bend ; see klei- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present declines, present participle declining, simple past and past participle declined)
- (intransitive) To move downwards, to fall, to drop.
- The dollar has declined rapidly since 2001.
- (intransitive) To become weaker or worse.
- My health declined in winter.
- To bend downward; to bring down; to depress; to cause to bend, or fall.
- To cause to decrease or diminish.
- To turn or bend aside; to deviate; to stray; to withdraw.
- a line that declines from straightness
- conduct that declines from sound morals
- To refuse, forbear.
- On reflection I think I will decline your generous offer.
- (grammar, of substantives, usually nouns, adjectives and pronouns) To inflect for case, number and sometimes gender.
- (by extension) To run through from first to last; to repeat like a schoolboy declining a noun.
From Middle English declinen, from Old French decliner, from Latin declinare (“to bend, turn aside, deflect, inflect, decline”), from de (“down”) + clīnō (“I bend, I incline”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱley- (English lean).