Definition of recline in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈklīn/


[no object]
1Lean or lie back in a relaxed position with the back supported: she was reclining in a deck chair (as adjective reclining) a reclining figure
More example sentences
  • Rita leaned back and reclined in the backseat of the black luxury car that was taking her to her new home, which to Rita, was really a prison.
  • The garden was perfect for strolling, but rather too formal for reclining, sprawling or lounging in the bright spring sunshine.
  • A figure playing Neptune reclines on a sail-covered chest, a trident in hand and a merman by his side.
lie, lie down, lie back, lean back;
be recumbent;
relax, repose, loll, lounge, sprawl, stretch out
literary couch
1.1(Of a seat) be able to have the back moved into a sloping position: all the seats recline
More example sentences
  • He decided to stay in the power chair because the seat reclines.
  • The seats reclined fully so that they turned into beds, and there was enough space for you not to have to worry about the person behind you getting annoyed because your reclining seat was resting on their knees.
  • Because of the emergency exit, my seat did not recline!
1.2 [with object] Move the back of (a seat) into a sloping position.
Example sentences
  • The guy ahead of me reclines his chair so far back into my face, it practically touches my nose.
  • It turns out that she just isn't strong enough to pull the release handle that reclines the chair.
  • Xavier reclined his chair and tried to appear at ease.



Example sentences
  • We all sat in these nice reclinable chairs and just lapped up the gorgeous views!
  • This racing seat is fully reclinable and arguably one of the best seats to come out of Japan.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'cause to lean back'): from Old French recliner or Latin reclinare 'bend back, recline', from re- 'back' + clinare 'to bend'.

  • lean from Old English:

    The two words spelled lean are of different origins. Both are Old English, but the one meaning ‘be in a sloping position’ shares a root of Latin clinare, as in incline (Middle English); decline (Late Middle English); and recline (Late Middle English). We sometimes talk of lean years or a lean period. This expression comes from the story of Joseph in the Bible. He successfully interprets Pharaoh's disturbing dream, in which seven plump, healthy cattle come out of the river and begin to feed. Seven lean, malnourished animals then leave the river and proceed to eat the plump cattle. According to Joseph's interpretation, there will be seven years of plenty in Egypt followed by seven lean years. Pharaoh, impressed by Joseph, appoints him vice-regent to prepare the country for the ordeal of the seven lean years. A person who is lean and hungry is active and alert-looking. The phrase comes from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar—‘Yond' Cassius has a lean and hungry look.’

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·cline

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