Definition of recline in English:



  • 1 Lean or lie back in a relaxed position with the back supported:

    ‘she was reclining in a deckchair’
    ‘a reclining figure’
    • ‘With a sigh, she reclines onto the pillow and stretches herself.’
    • ‘She was sitting on the grass, partly reclining with both hands behind her supporting her weight.’
    • ‘She glides over to the black chair, and seems to perch on the edge, although the chair seems to be doing it's best to make her recline, and relax.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To hear him speak now you would think they were reclining in a lounge.’
    • ‘Outside, men recline on brightly colored silk pillows, relaxing on the carpeted floor of a large goat-hair tent as boys dance to tribal songs.’
    • ‘‘John and I built this hotel for ourselves,’ says Bridget, reclining on a seductive-looking purple couch in one of 100 bedrooms.’
    • ‘I had been reclining here for over two hours, leaning against the arch.’
    • ‘He signed and reclined in the tub, resting his stiff neck on the padded edge.’
    • ‘Far away, leaning against the trunk of a tree, a figure pushed his sunglasses up his nose and sighed, reclining back a little bit more.’
    • ‘Brian crossed his arms and reclined in the passenger seat.’
    • ‘Back at the Grand Hotel there is also a small outdoor pool at the lakeside and an ample terrace on which to recline in a deckchair.’
    • ‘Men can take the weight off their feet by reclining on leather settees while watching international football and rugby on TV and being handed small quantities of beer, crisps and nuts by obliging sales staff.’
    • ‘The garden was perfect for strolling, but rather too formal for reclining, sprawling or lounging in the bright spring sunshine.’
    • ‘Some reclined wearily on the couches, others leaned forward with excitement on the folding chairs.’
    • ‘Pampered pets can relax to the sounds of tranquil music as they recline on miniature lounge furniture in their luxury heated rooms.’
    • ‘A figure playing Neptune reclines on a sail-covered chest, a trident in hand and a merman by his side.’
    • ‘He's reclining on a couch looking surprisingly relaxed and amused as he relates the story of how penury forced him into such an unusual career choice.’
    • ‘Women in various stages of undress reclined on loungers around the edge of the room and a beautifully ornate staircase dropped from its centre down to the spa facilities below.’
    • ‘He had been up since 5.30 am and he had a long day ahead, so he reclined and did his best to relax.’
    • ‘Dimming the lights, Corrina kicked off her shoes and crawled onto her bed where Aaron was reclining, leaning his weight back on his elbows.’
    lie, lie down, lie back, lean back
    be recumbent, be prone
    rest, relax, repose
    loll, lounge, sprawl, stretch out, drape oneself over
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a seat) be able to have the back moved into a sloping position:
      ‘all the seats recline’
      • ‘It is an uncomfortable plane, only superficially like the Boeing; it has feeble air conditioning, and the seats hardly recline.’
      • ‘Personally, I think all airline seats should have a built-in switch that prevents seats from reclining.’
      • ‘Push a few buttons and, hey presto, your seat reclines, and your leg rest rises until you are lying down.’
      • ‘A tilt mechanism causes the seat to rise slightly when the chair reclines, and a lumbar system supports the back.’
      • ‘At a movie place in Acapulco I was at a couple of years ago, the seats reclined, and even with my legs stretched right out, I couldn't reach the seats in front of me.’
      • ‘Further refinements mean that the rear seats both slide and recline.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If the seat reclines does it recline enough so that your newborn can lie almost flat.’
      • ‘Nathan pulled on the lever on his seat allowing it to recline.’
      • ‘Because of the emergency exit, my seat did not recline!’
      • ‘The seat doesn't recline, so you'll do more reading.’
      • ‘Another minus: seats recline only to a 160-degree angle, not ideal for that night flight home.’
      • ‘First class passengers get, among other advantages such as better food and service, more space and a wider, more comfortable seat that reclines into a bed.’
      • ‘The company announced that it had returned to profitability in the third quarter due to raised fares and more business travellers who were attracted by features such as seats that fully recline on long-haul flights.’
      • ‘The new, improved seats recline to an angle of 143 degrees, and a whole row of seats has been removed to give even more leg room.’
      • ‘This bus was deluxe, new with soft seats that reclined.’
      • ‘The centre seats slide, recline or fold and the rearmost ones easily fold into the floor.’
      • ‘For added comfort, its rear seats recline by 10 degrees.’
      • ‘He decided to stay in the power chair because the seat reclines.’
      • ‘The airline cut economy seating and focused on attracting business travellers with seats that recline to beds.’
    2. 1.2[with object] Move the back of (a seat) into a sloping position:
      ‘he tried to recline his seat’
      • ‘Instead, I reclined the driver's seat all the way and then just relaxed for a while.’
      • ‘It might make the seniors sitting behind you uncomfortable if you recline your chair.’
      • ‘Roll the window down, recline your seat, and snooze.’
      • ‘Irene, therefore, reclined her chair back, squashing the passengers in the row behind her.’
      • ‘The rear bench seat can be tumbled, reclined or even detached, as well as slid backwards or forwards, and also allows each passenger to choose an individual and comfortable seating position.’
      • ‘Do not recline your seat just as the person behind you opens their food tray.’
      • ‘The German woman in the seat behind me objected loudly to me reclining my seat, going so far as to call over the male flight attendant.’
      • ‘Lizzie pulled herself away from the hypnotic view the window had to offer and reclined her seat.’
      • ‘According to a spokesperson for the company, the airline asked 20,000 customers if they would prefer the person in front of them to be unable to recline their seat.’
      • ‘They can be reclined to a flat position providing a full-length sleeping area.’
      • ‘It's not so bad when the seat in front is up, but if they recline it then it presses rather painfully against my knees.’
      • ‘I merely shrugged, but Kurt took my silence for a ‘yes’ and reclined his seat back.’
      • ‘It turns out that she just isn't strong enough to pull the release handle that reclines the chair.’
      • ‘Since it was first class, they later offered her a plump pillow and a nice blanket as they reclined her chair for her.’
      • ‘Marcus reclined his seat a little and looked in the rear-view mirror to see another car pulled up behind theirs.’
      • ‘You're settling in for the long flight when you get the urge to recline your seat.’
      • ‘The guy ahead of me reclines his chair so far back into my face, it practically touches my nose.’
      • ‘Alex reclined his seat and folded his hands beneath his head.’
      • ‘I use my time in the air to work, read or sleep, and I can do none of the above if I am squeezed into a little space with someone else's head in my face when they recline their seat in front of me.’
      • ‘Xavier reclined his chair and tried to appear at ease.’


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.