Definition of recede in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈsēd/


[no object]
1Go or move back or further away from a previous position: the flood waters 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, go down, move back, move away, withdraw, ebb, subside, abate
1.1(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, decrease, dwindle, fade, abate, subside, ebb, wane
1.2(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.
1.3(Of a man) begin to go bald at the temples or above the forehead: Fred was receding a bit
More example sentences
  • Is your dad bald or receding?
  • I told you you were not going bald - receding maybe, but not going bald.
1.4 (usually as adjective receding) (Of a facial feature) slope backward: 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.
1.5 (recede from) archaic Withdraw from (an undertaking, promise, or agreement).
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.


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

Syllabification: re·cede

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