Definition of recede in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /rɪˈsiːd/


[no object]
1Go or move back or further away from a previous position: the floodwaters had receded his footsteps receded down the corridor
More example sentences
  • But yesterday villagers chose to party and have a good time, as they could do nothing more than wait until the flood waters had receded.
  • Flood waters are receding in some parts of the Midwest, but still rising in others.
  • I heard her voice recede as her mouth moved farther from the phone.
retreat, go back, move back, move further off, move away, withdraw;
ebb, subside, go down, abate, fall back, sink
rare retrocede
1.1 (usually as adjective receding) (Of a facial feature) slope backwards: a slightly receding chin
More example sentences
  • Use a beard to minimize a soft or receding or overly prominent chin.
  • Few people realize that a receding chin is quite easily amenable to corrective surgery.
  • You might be self-conscious about a feature such as a receding chin or a large nose, which makes the face look unbalanced, or maybe mother nature simply didn't give you quite what you wanted.
1.2 (recede from) archaic Withdraw from (a promise or agreement): he felt no inclination to recede from the agreement into which he had entered
More example sentences
  • Within a few months of his swearing the oath that he was to break in so many ways, the President receded from both these pledges.
  • Should you unilaterally decide to recede from the internship agreement 20 days or more before the start date of internship, you forfeit an administrative fee of €200.
  • Some purchasers have warned they would consider receding from the contract if the company fails to deliver the planes in the near term.
2(Of a quality, feeling, or possibility) gradually diminish: the prospects of an early end to the war receded
More example sentences
  • People who were hanging on in the hope of benefiting from a cash injection of some kind have seen that possibility recede with the failure of these actions.
  • The cost of fixed-rate mortgages is coming down as the threat of a rise in interest rates recedes - and that's good news for the many thousands of borrowers who are coming to the end of a cheap fixed deal.
  • But with each fresh act of violence, that hope recedes.
diminish, lessen, grow less, decrease, dwindle, fade, abate, subside, ebb, wane, fall off, taper off, peter out, shrink
rare de-escalate
3(Of a man’s hair) cease to grow at the temples and above the forehead: his dark hair was receding a little (as adjective receding) a receding hairline
More example sentences
  • His hair was receding at the front and he had a high forehead.
  • His white hair has receded; his stomach is bulkier; his English has improved.
  • As I neared them, I could see that the man's blonde hair was receding and he was dressed rather conservatively.


Late 15th century (in the sense 'depart from a usual state or standard'): from Latin recedere, from re- 'back' + cedere 'go'.

  • cede from early 16th century:

    Cede is from French céder or Latin cedere ‘to yield, give way, go’. Cedere is a rich source of English words including abscess (mid 16th century) ‘going away’ (of the infection when it bursts); access [Middle English] ‘go to’; ancestor (Middle English) someone who went ante ‘before’; antecedent (Late Middle English) from the same base as ancestor; cease (Middle English); concede (Late Middle English) to give way completely; decease (Middle English) ‘go away’; exceed (Late Middle English) to go beyond a boundary; intercede (late 16th century) go between; predecessor (Late Middle English) one who went away before; proceed (Late Middle English) to go forward; recede (Late Middle English) ‘go back’; and succeed (Late Middle English) ‘come close after’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re¦cede

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.