Definition of recede in English:



  • 1Go or move back or further away from a previous position.

    ‘the floodwaters had receded’
    ‘his footsteps receded down the corridor’
    • ‘Much of the water has receded, but the damage is already done.’
    • ‘Flood waters are receding in some parts of the Midwest, but still rising in others.’
    • ‘She had leapt out of bed and pushed aside the muslin curtains just in time to see two receding figures as they ran into the forest.’
    • ‘Although the waters are slowly receding the villagers are not optimistic about what they will find when they return home.’
    • ‘I heard her voice recede as her mouth moved farther from the phone.’
    • ‘When the tide recedes, tide pools offer glimpses of a world apart.’
    • ‘By evening the water had receded but the electricity wasn't back.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the guard's footsteps receded, we let out a collective sigh.’
    • ‘Pluto is now rapidly receding from the sun, and some astronomers have argued that if a spacecraft isn't launched within the next few years, the planet will be completely frozen over by the time a probe arrives.’
    • ‘As The Island gradually receded into the distance, the sun was still shining.’
    • ‘They said the water level had started receding.’
    • ‘I heard her footsteps recede and threw back the blanket.’
    • ‘She stood perfectly still, listening to his footsteps recede down the hall.’
    • ‘The water always recedes during low tide, to greater or lesser degrees.’
    • ‘And it is the galaxies, not individual stars, that are receding from one another, being carried farther apart as the space in which they are embedded expands.’
    • ‘Even after the surface flood water has receded, the soil may remain saturated for some time.’
    • ‘Residents looked on in tears as water receded slowly, offering the first glimpses of streets, squares and ground floors submerged in mud.’
    • ‘Thus the moon is slowly receding from Earth at about 4 cm per year, and the rate would have been greater in the past.’
    • ‘But although the waters may have receded, the aftermath of one of the world's biggest natural disasters has only just begun.’
    retreat, go back, move back, move further off, move away, withdraw
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    1. 1.1(of a facial feature) slope backwards.
      ‘a slightly receding chin’
      • ‘Few people realize that a receding chin is quite easily amenable to corrective surgery.’
      • ‘Use a beard to minimize a soft or receding or overly prominent chin.’
      • ‘We have but to compare these lines with the skulls of the Egyptians, Kurds, and the heroic type of heads in the statues of the gods of Greece, to see that there was formerly an ancient race marked by a receding forehead.’
      • ‘Their skulls, while perhaps round-faced with high cheekbones, also have a low receding brow not characteristic of Native Americans.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2archaic Withdraw from (a promise or agreement)
      ‘he felt no inclination to recede from the agreement into which he had entered’
      • ‘Some purchasers have warned they would consider receding from the contract if the company fails to deliver the planes in the near term.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      pull out of, back out of, beg off, bow out of, scratch from
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  • 2(of a quality, feeling, or possibility) gradually diminish.

    ‘the prospects of an early end to the war receded’
    • ‘Just as the trauma of my previous imprisonment receded, the financial reality began to kick in.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A truce with a leading militant group a few months ago ran into trouble, with hopes of peace receding in South Asia's most troubled area.’
    • ‘The threat of a tube strike over anti-terrorist safety measures receded today when a drivers' union decided not to ballot for industrial action.’
    • ‘Public tumults and tragedies, even ones as dreadful as that of September 11, gradually recede into the past and become less emotionally fraught for all of us.’
    • ‘I felt his fear recede, replaced instead by a calm, almost drunken stupor.’
    • ‘With the tinted lenses blocking out the worst of the bright sunlight, her headache receded to its previous dull ache.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Those mysterious years of coldness receded into the background as our children grew up and moved on.’
    • ‘The pain receded after what seemed like an eternity, fading to a throbbing.’
    • ‘The prospect of raising additional funding is also receding fast.’
    • ‘I could not believe that he would keep this up and that once his grief receded a little, then so would his anger.’
    • ‘The war on terrorism continued in 2003 but the insecurity of the previous year receded, allowing Americans to return to a more normal pattern of travel at home and abroad.’
    • ‘I looked into his kind and intelligent eyes, and instantly all of my doubts receded.’
    • ‘Alas, the halcyon days have receded, giving way to a cold new era in which executives actually have to earn their personal millions by making real money for their investors.’
    • ‘Give yourself a little time to let the sadness recede and then make a decision.’
    • ‘As fear of the Soviets receded in the 1970s, the United States and its NATO allies achieved a détente of their own.’
    • ‘Bear in mind that little annoyances do not recede with time; they just become bigger annoyances.’
    • ‘Thanks to environmental advocacy over the past decade, the threat of industrial pollution has receded slightly.’
    diminish, lessen, grow less, decrease, dwindle, fade, abate, subside, ebb, wane, fall off, taper off, peter out, shrink
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  • 3(of a man's hair) cease to grow at the temples and above the forehead.

    ‘his dark hair was receding a little’
    ‘a receding hairline’
    • ‘Despite a slightly receding hairline, his ample, glistening night-black hair remained full and healthy.’
    • ‘As I neared them, I could see that the man's blonde hair was receding and he was dressed rather conservatively.’
    • ‘Quinlan ran one weary hand over his short-cropped, receding black hair.’
    • ‘His hairline was receding, making his face look longer.’
    • ‘The similarities between the two men are stark - the same strong jaw, angular features and receding hairline.’
    • ‘His hairline is receding and he has wrinkles across his forehead.’
    • ‘Do they suffer from receding hair, facial scars or other disfigurations?’
    • ‘His white hair has receded; his stomach is bulkier; his English has improved.’
    • ‘He looked like a natural for comedy with his weak chin, receding hairline and a nose that looked as if someone had recently slammed a car door on it.’
    • ‘His hair was receding at the front and he had a high forehead.’
    • ‘Those with receding hairlines should not worry - the benefits of this research will not be restricted to the more hirsute in the population as there are plenty of hair follicles elsewhere on the body.’
    • ‘Moonlight was glinting off Olli Rehn's receding hairline.’
    • ‘The honest depiction seemed to emphasize his worst features: his big nose, the dark circles under his eyes, his slightly receding hairline.’
    • ‘The witness is described as being around 6ft tall, with dark receding hair.’
    • ‘He is of a medium build and has short grey receding hair and a moustache.’
    • ‘He is 5ft 6in, slim, with short, brown, receding hair.’
    • ‘The man was described as white, skinny, 5ft 5in, in his early 30s, with mousey brown receding hair.’
    • ‘The image shows a slightly chubby-faced man with receding, dark cropped hair, tanned skin and stubble.’
    • ‘His silvery hairline was receding and he really needed a shave.’
    • ‘Nowadays, however, more and more men are shaving their heads whether their hairlines are receding or not.’
    1. 3.1(of a man) begin to go bald.
      ‘Fred was receding a bit’
      • ‘I told you you were not going bald - receding maybe, but not going bald.’
      • ‘Is your dad bald or receding?’


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