Definition of recess in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈriːsɛs//rɪˈsɛs/


  • 1A small space created by building part of a wall further back from the rest.

    ‘a table set into a recess’
    • ‘Alcoves - small recesses opening off a room or hallway - add character and extra functionality to a home.’
    • ‘In each of the four walls there is a recess, although only that to the west survives in anything like its original state.’
    • ‘The sheltered space with its stone wall and paving offers small recesses with seats, and some carved stone tablets from the old building have been re-used, preserving its memory.’
    • ‘At the far left side of the main wall is a blackened recess.’
    • ‘In addition, lifesize models of raggedly clothed families huddle enclosed behind glass in darkened recesses in the walls.’
    • ‘In the dark recesses of the stone walls, they found old toys and junk collected by the old woman while she lived here, but they also found older furniture and antiques that had obviously been here for some time.’
    • ‘Across from this there is a recess in a wall and the entire face of it is covered with scribbles, painted and sprayed on.’
    • ‘Four computers and chairs, with the keyboards sliding out on a shelf, are housed in a recess along a wall which once held an aquarium of tropical fish.’
    • ‘Soft breathing came from the recesses in the walls, where the mattresses were.’
    • ‘The door was set in a deep recess within an inner wall of the keep, at about the level of the street outside.’
    • ‘This recess in a dining room wall - furnished with a comfy cushion and colorful throw pillows - serves as a cozy spot to sit and read.’
    • ‘The bed mechanisms can also be built into recesses framed into a wall.’
    • ‘The library has shelves built into the inner recesses of the walls to house the king's collection of books.’
    • ‘Or it could be the illusion of a recess in the wall, like the traditional statue in an alcove.’
    • ‘With its metal projections and angles, wooden recesses and thin walls it has a serendipitous quality.’
    • ‘They provide a luminescent quality to the interior, reflecting light into the recesses of the room.’
    • ‘He walked to a corner, and grabbed a metal pipe that was leaning in a recess in the wall.’
    • ‘Grabbing me by the arm he pushed me into a recess in the wall and then pressed himself against me flattening us into the wall.’
    • ‘He hit one last button and a beam of light appeared in a small recess on the wall.’
    • ‘Santiago quickly turned my attention to a recess in the wall to the right side of the doors.’
    1. 1.1A hollow space inside something.
      ‘the concrete block has a recess in its base’
      • ‘The material feature of this claim is that the ball should have such a diameter that it projects above the recess in which it sits but can move freely inside the recess.’
      • ‘Place the hinge leaf in the mortise and position the self-centering tool in the countersink recesses of the hinge.’
      • ‘This bar went into the slots or recesses on the first plate.’
      • ‘You don't want to drill into the recoil lug recess.’
      • ‘The second recess has an opening through which waste can be deposited into the container.’
      • ‘The head of the tool fits in the screw head recess in the hinge to ensure the pilot hole will be centered.’
      • ‘It is as smooth as the outside, and the only machining marks I can find are deep in the recess around the base pin hole.’
      • ‘A recess is formed in the silica layer that is aligned with an active area within the semiconductor substrate.’
      • ‘Bolt locking lugs are lapped for full contact in their locking recesses.’
      alcove, bay, niche, nook, corner, inglenook
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    2. 1.2A remote, secluded, or secret place.
      ‘the recesses of the silent pine forest’
      figurative ‘the dark recesses of his soul’
      • ‘Then one night, 14 months after I moved to Jerusalem, I had a dream where, in the recesses of my subconscious mind, I put to rest this last remaining issue.’
      • ‘It saves us from peering into the darkest recesses of our own hearts.’
      • ‘Words began flowing out of him, as if from the recesses of his heart.’
      • ‘Some actors are born to play the hero and others exist to illuminate the darker recesses of the human soul.’
      • ‘They fled to pray at the various altars or hide in the dark passages and recesses of the crypt or seek refuge up the stairs in the arched chambers of the roof.’
      • ‘What we know in the secret recesses of our hearts is that the story of scarcity is a tale of death.’
      • ‘From deep within the recesses of his brain, Joel attempts to escape the procedure.’
      • ‘As I sat in bed and futilely attempted to sleep, I noticed a deep rumbling sound emanating from the hollow recesses of my cavernous stomach.’
      • ‘By 1900, artists attempted to penetrate the deep recesses of the unconscious mind.’
      • ‘He was on the verge of voicing the rest of the questions he had stored in the recesses of his mind when the sudden approach of footsteps drew both their attentions to the doorway opposite the one to the garden.’
      • ‘He sighed as he slipped back into the recesses of his memory.’
      • ‘Deep down, in the recesses of his folk memory, Angus knew all of that.’
      • ‘Capitalism is all about maximization of profits and if that requires appealing to the lowest instincts and the darkest recesses of human nature, so be it.’
      • ‘Many things have changed since then; sadly, the cultural shift has not penetrated into the darkest recesses of some areas of employment.’
      • ‘Peer into the dark recesses of America's heart and this, apparently, is what you'll find.’
      • ‘She advises her clients to revisit their histories and face experiences and feelings that they have blocked in the recesses of their minds.’
      • ‘Setting down his empty plate Willard catalogued these new developments in the recesses of his brain.’
      • ‘There are all kinds of heroes, working silently in remote recesses of our country.’
      • ‘Maybe in that deep, dark recess of my soul, I just want to be able to dream again.’
      • ‘Enter former FBI profiler Frank Black, a man delving headfirst into the dark recesses of the human soul, shining light on the horrors that men and women do.’
      innermost parts, innermost reaches, remote places, secret places, dark corners, heart, inner sanctum, interior
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  • 2A period of time when the proceedings of a parliament, committee, court of law, or other official body are temporarily suspended.

    ‘talks resumed after a month's recess’
    ‘Parliament was in recess’
    • ‘The Senate completed work on three bills before the recess.’
    • ‘That process, used when the Senate is in recess, puts a judicial nominee temporarily on the bench without being confirmed.’
    • ‘Parliament is currently in recess, but resumes next Tuesday.’
    • ‘Even before Parliament went into recess on July 21, an unparalleled degree of cross-party unity had been established.’
    • ‘I wish to conclude by also paying my respects to the memory of the two other former senior members of Parliament who passed away while the House was in recess.’
    • ‘Parliament resumed on February 12 after a recess of four months and the re-election of the Liberal-National Coalition to a third term in office.’
    • ‘When they emerged in open court, Judge Dellucci announced court was in recess.’
    • ‘Then this court is in recess until 11:00 tomorrow when we'll hear closing arguments.’
    • ‘While the court was in recess Jon walked over to our family.’
    • ‘That difference led to the latest round of talks breaking for a recess.’
    • ‘The Court took a short recess before hearing the submissions on the Charter motion.’
    • ‘Court is in recess until further evidence comes to light.’
    • ‘The courts are now in recess for the holidays and the Supreme Court will not be sitting again until October.’
    • ‘He has so far rejected demands for a recall of parliament, currently in recess.’
    • ‘The 20-minute meeting took place shortly after the six-party talks decided to break for a recess.’
    • ‘It starts in August when Parliament, like football, is in recess, the law courts go to sleep and a lot of us are on holiday.’
    • ‘His lawyer, John D. Mills, asked the court for a brief recess.’
    • ‘The industrial action is scheduled to be held a day before the House of Commons and the House of Lords break for the summer recess.’
    • ‘As Parliament is currently in recess, now is a good time to contact me should you have any federal issues you may wish to discuss.’
    • ‘After all, Congress has been in recess for over a month.’
    1. 2.1North American A break between school classes.
      ‘the mid-morning recess’
      • ‘Clearly, breaks are helpful, both for attention and for classroom management, whether or not the breaks are in the form of recess.’
      • ‘Fights broke out daily - not just during recess or bathroom breaks but also in the middle of lessons.’
      • ‘Students, faculty and staff should be encouraged or required to wear hats when outdoors during physical education classes, recess and field trips.’
      • ‘In fact, I was pretty sure that the latest romances were the major topics of the staffroom at recesses and lunchtime breaks.’
      • ‘Ask any elementary-school teacher what would happen if he were to let his entire fifth-grade class out for recess unattended.’
      • ‘Classes were also observed during recess, in the cafeteria, and in the library.’
      • ‘At that same moment the class bell rang and recess was over.’
      • ‘They gave up several recesses over the next few weeks to glue, color and do whatever was necessary to complete the mural.’
      • ‘Current studies challenge the idea that limiting recess will benefit children's academic performance, however.’
      • ‘The bell went, ending recess and starting class.’
      • ‘At recess one day her teacher taught the class how to play hopscotch on the cement basketball court outside.’
      • ‘At the same time, I was becoming increasingly concerned about the growing number of schools doing away with recess in the search for higher test scores.’
      • ‘In the 5th grade, we will have peer mediators promoting conflict resolution, primarily on the playground, during lunchtime recesses.’
      • ‘He tells her to hold out her hand, and he hits it several times, then makes her stand in front of the class until recess.’
      • ‘School-aged children are told that they have to refrain from gym class and recess for three weeks postoperatively.’
      • ‘School classes break for outdoor recess every forty-five minutes.’
      • ‘Additionally, during physical education classes and recess, children actually spend very little time engaged in physical activity.’
      • ‘During recess, children are learning the things that they need to know now and in the future.’
      • ‘I also used the opportunity to see if I might ask the kids what they liked and disliked about recess; I needed their insights to flesh out my reflections.’
      • ‘Some people were dancing near the DJ on the stage but it looked more like the playground as recess in elementary school than a high school dance.’
      adjournment, break, interlude, interval, rest, intermission, respite, temporary closure, temporary cessation of business
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  • 1[with object] Attach (a fitment) by setting it back into the wall or surface to which it is fixed.

    ‘recessed ceiling lights’
    • ‘The yellow-walled kitchen is bright and airy and features recessed ceiling lighting.’
    • ‘Push buttons can be recessed or surrounded by a raised collar.’
    • ‘I have seen one nuclear blast shelter, at the bottom of a very steep escalator in a Pyongyang subway station, where three gigantic blast doors, each about two feet thick, are recessed into the wall.’
    • ‘At night recessed lights reflect in the pool's still waters.’
    • ‘The kitchens have recessed downlighting, granite worktops and stainless steel extractor fans.’
    • ‘A narrow bed lined one wall of the tiny area; a small monitor that showed the essentials of the security system was recessed into the wall above that.’
    • ‘With the rise of private Masses, chapels began to bulge out from the laterals of the church and altars began to be recessed against the walls.’
    • ‘He also reoriented the stair and recessed upper kitchen cabinets into the walls to expose views from every corner.’
    • ‘There is recessed spot lighting in the room, the walls of which are partly tiled.’
    • ‘Its en suite bathroom has recessed lighting, a timber floor and white tiled walls.’
    • ‘The guest bedroom with a deep, recessed window to the front also benefits from en suite facilities and a fitted wardrobe.’
    • ‘Additional features include recessed ceiling lighting and a bay window with a built-in sitting area.’
    • ‘The room also has part-tiled walls and recessed ceiling lighting.’
    • ‘She chose a set that was relatively inexpensive, but told him that she had chosen it because the diamonds were small and deeply recessed into white gold bands that seemed a close match to his own.’
    • ‘Toilets for the female prisoners were recessed into the wall, but as you can see, offered no privacy.’
    • ‘Among the gadgetry featured in the room are four giant plasma-screen televisions and DVD players which are recessed into the walls.’
    • ‘A coal-effect gas fire has been fitted into the original cast iron fireplace and there is recessed lighting.’
    • ‘The kitchen has dark slate flooring, exposed ceiling beams, recessed spot lights and a central island with cooker and gas hob.’
    • ‘Double sliding doors between the drawing room and dining room have been recessed into the dividing wall.’
    • ‘This type of lighting is usually provided by ceiling fixtures, which can be recessed.’
    • ‘A well placed light fixture recessed in the wall illuminated the area perfectly.’
    • ‘The group huddled around a small table with keyboards and screens recessed in the top.’
  • 2North American [no object] (of formal proceedings) be temporarily suspended.

    ‘the talks recessed at 2.15’
    • ‘The fourth round of talks recessed in Beijing earlier this month.’
    • ‘The latest round of talks involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, the United States and Russia recessed after three days of talks in November.’
    • ‘Attorney General Jim Hood told reporters after court recessed that prosecutors would ask the judge to allow the jury to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter in the case.’
    • ‘At 9.20 am the court recessed to await the doctor's arrival.’
    • ‘Philippine government chief negotiator Jesus Dureza said talks, which will recess for two days, could last until Aug.3.’
    adjourn, be suspended, suspend proceedings, pause, break off, take a break
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    1. 2.1[with object]Suspend (formal proceedings) temporarily.
      ‘the trial was recessed for the weekend’
      • ‘California's Legislature is due to recess its two-year session Aug.31.’
      • ‘He filed an Affidavit sworn by him on July 6, 2001, while the Court was recessed for the summer vacation.’
      • ‘The tournament was recessed so everyone could rest and eat.’
      • ‘The judge recesses the trial, sending the jury off to deliberate.’
      • ‘Then things come to a crashing halt and court is recessed.’
      • ‘The six-party talks have been recessed and are scheduled to restart next week.’
      • ‘Because, here you have a judge recessing a trial, right in the middle of trial, and saying it could be exculpatory evidence.’
      • ‘The talks were recessed upon news of the death of North Korean President Kim Il Sung, then resumed in August.’
      suspend, break off, discontinue, interrupt, postpone, put off, put back, defer, delay, hold over, hold in abeyance, shelve, pigeonhole, stay, prorogue, dissolve, terminate, bring to an end, halt, call a halt to
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    2. 2.2(of an official body) suspend its proceedings for a period of time.
      ‘Parliament recessed for the summer on Tuesday’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the state's legislature has recessed until October 7, still with no solution in sight.’
      • ‘On March 16, before recessing for Easter break, the House passed a bill that was broader in scope than the bill eventually signed into law.’
      • ‘On Friday, the House of Representatives recessed until September with the debate over those lower-income families still unresolved.’
      • ‘The President is urging Congress to approve his economic stimulus package before lawmakers recess for the year.’
      • ‘And the sooner this grand jury recesses the sooner she can get home.’
      • ‘He would bring him to his office after the Senate recessed and ply him with drinks until the inebriated Kentuckian would agree to anything Johnson wanted.’
      • ‘To mark the occasion, President Washington made a ceremonial visit to Newport when Congress recessed in August.’
      • ‘No compromise could be reached before Congress recessed, forcing lawmakers to pass a stopgap measure to continue funding at current levels.’
      • ‘His actions allowed a vote to occur before the 95th Congress recessed.’
      • ‘No specific decisions were made before Congress recessed and went home for the holidays in late October.’
      • ‘Congress was scheduled to recess this weekend to allow members to return home for the final weeks before the general election November 2.’
      • ‘The Committee has just recessed, but a vote is still expected later today.’
      • ‘In the final days before Congress recessed for the national elections, we were still unsure what debt-relief funding Congress would agree to.’
      • ‘They'll probably recess early, and then will begin deliberations on Thursday.’
      • ‘‘It could be that the Senate will need to take up that resolution and vote on it before we recess,’ he said.’
      • ‘The president urges Congress to act before lawmakers recess for the November elections.’
      • ‘By the time legislature recessed in late March, more than 150 bills had been filed and countless efforts made to close access to government by amending other bills.’
      • ‘To be sure, the D.C. initiative remained on the table as Congress recessed for Thanksgiving.’
      • ‘That legislation lapses Nov. 19, and Congress recessed before the House could consider a Senate bill to extend the rules.’
      • ‘As you know, Congress is about to recess for the Thanksgiving break.’
      adjourn, suspend proceedings, take a recess, break, stop, take a break
      knock off, take five, take time out
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Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘withdrawal, departure’): from Latin recessus, from recedere go back (see recede). The verb dates from the early 19th century.