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  1. de·cline
  2. verb

    • 1. (typically of something regarded as good) become smaller, fewer, or less; decrease:

      the birth rate continued to decline
      Synonym : decrease, reduce, get smaller, grow smaller, lessen, get less, diminish, wane, dwindle, contract, shrink, fall off, taper off, tail off, peter out, drop, fall, go down, sink, slump, plummet, plunge, nosedive, take a nosedive, take a header, go into a tailspin, crash
    • 2. diminish in strength or quality; deteriorate:

      her health began to decline
      Synonym : deteriorate, degenerate, decay, crumble, collapse, fail, fall, sink, slump, slip, slide, go downhill, worsen, get worse, go to rack and ruin, stagnate, atrophy, wither, weaken, fade, fade away, wane, ebb, be abandoned, be neglected, be disregarded, be forgotten, go to pot, go to the dogs, hit the skids, go down the toilet, go down the tubes, go to the pack, retrograde
    • 3. politely refuse (an invitation or offer):

      Caroline declined the coffee
      Synonym : turn down, reject, brush aside, refuse, rebuff, spurn, disdain, look down one's nose at, repulse, repudiate, dismiss, forgo, deny oneself, pass up, refuse to take advantage of, turn one's back on, abstain (from), say no to, shake one's head, send one's regrets, give the thumbs down (to), give the red light (to), give something a miss, give someone the brush-off, knock back, snout
    • 4. politely refuse to do something:

      the company declined to comment
    • 5. (especially of the sun) move downward:

      the sun began to creep around to the west and to decline
    • 6. bend down; droop:

      the wearisome creatures of the world declining to their rest
    • 7. (in the grammar of Latin, Greek, and certain other languages) state the forms of (a noun, pronoun, or adjective) corresponding to cases, number, and gender.


  3. Variation

    • v.: verb: decline, 3rd person present: declines, gerund or present participle: declining, past tense: declined, past participle: declined

    • verb

      (typically of something regarded as good) become smaller, fewer, or less; decrease:

      diminish in strength or quality; deteriorate:

    • noun

      a gradual and continuous loss of strength, numbers, quality, or value:

      the sun's gradual setting:

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