Definition of fade in English:



  • 1Gradually grow faint and disappear.

    ‘the noise faded away’
    figurative ‘hopes of peace had faded’
    • ‘She strained, but the dream was already fading and she was growing sleepy again.’
    • ‘And, as the process went on, the smile faded, disappeared, and was replaced with the usual frown.’
    • ‘His voice fades to nothing, signalling the end of the conversation.’
    • ‘His voice disappears and his grasp fades to nothing.’
    • ‘Had cotton not been so in demand and so crucial to the prosperity of the nation and Europe, slavery might have faded rather than growing stronger.’
    • ‘She heard the car start up and sound of the engine slowly faded into the distance.’
    • ‘I leaned against the wall, laughter fading a bit.’
    • ‘She wondered why an innovative technical process for manufacturing tiles rose to prominence but then faded so quickly from sight.’
    • ‘The dream was quickly fading from memory as his stomach growled for attention.’
    • ‘Rob listened as Diana walked out of his room and heard her footsteps fade into nothingness.’
    • ‘From the interior of a car, the condensation on the windshield gradually fades away, revealing a better picture of the landscape outside.’
    • ‘With the lights fading, the match petered into a draw at the end of regulation time.’
    • ‘Remember that most computer inks will fade over time if left in the sunlight.’
    • ‘‘Sure, come in,’ Tara replied, the sparkle fading but not disappearing completely.’
    • ‘She smiled at the eagerness that faded to disappointment.’
    • ‘The light lasted about 5 to 10 seconds before it faded out slowly and disappeared.’
    • ‘It was still painful to think of the Pied Piper's disappearance, but the shock had faded to a faint ache.’
    • ‘As the day grew longer and faded into night, the party continued on their perilous journey, marching through the mist filled forests.’
    • ‘And so, while scientists toiled in their labs, the market for dictation tools faded like a distant radio signal.’
    • ‘Benefits like this, however, fade into insignificance compared to the bigger picture.’
    dim, grow dim, grow faint, grow feeble, fail, dwindle, grow less, die away, wane, disappear, vanish, decline, dissolve, peter out, melt away, evanesce
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Lose or cause to lose color or brightness.
      no object ‘the fair hair had faded to a dusty gray’
      with object ‘faded jeans’
      • ‘The sky had been painted gold by the sunset and the bright, warm colour hadn't faded at all yet.’
      • ‘His wrinkles and laugh lines accented a face of solitude and sadness, and his old uniform was becoming tattered, its former blue colour fading.’
      • ‘Slowly the colours of the day faded and the dark purple of the night crept in, with its eerie sense of romance and evil to it.’
      • ‘This coloration gradually fades away during the fruiting season, which occurs from February to March.’
      • ‘For the evening out, Gabrielle had chosen to wear a white turtleneck sweater and faded blue stonewashed jeans with black boots.’
      • ‘There was the faintest trace of freckles fading from childhood glittering across the bridge of my nose.’
      • ‘Fibreglass was commonly used in public sculptures some years ago but it was found to break easily and colours faded quickly on it.’
      • ‘They watched as the bright colours of the sky faded and were replaced by the muted pastels of twilight.’
      • ‘He was short with silver grey hair that was fading to white along with his hairline.’
      • ‘When alive these fishes are a beautiful blue tinged grey on the back with a whitish belly, but this colour fades to a dull dark grey after death.’
      • ‘The colors are generally bright and bold, though there are moments when the image looks slightly faded.’
      • ‘Shock and remorse showed there, the pink in his cheeks fading to a pale colour I had never seen on him before.’
      • ‘Something strange is happening to the trees: their beautiful green leaves are fading, discoloring, even coming loose and blowing away.’
      • ‘Again, the strands of color start out saturated and fade in intensity, as if done in a single gesture.’
      • ‘Brilliant coral-red leaves fade to greenish pink in summer and develop only a little color in fall.’
      • ‘We used a big cotton rug as a picnic blanket and its bright colours soon faded in the New Zealand sun.’
      • ‘As a result, some parts of his pictures are bathed in soft light while others fade into gentle dusk.’
      • ‘Although summer's over and the last splutters of colour are fading from most gardens, there is a way to keep your patch looking pretty in the dark days ahead.’
      • ‘The colours fade and lose their sheen; the pink-tipped petals curl and brown and the leaves wither and wrinkle.’
      • ‘However tattoos usually fade over time, making them illegible.’
      become pale, grow pale, pale, become bleached, become washed out, lose colour, decolour, decolorize, discolour
      bleach, wash out, make pale, decolour, decolorize, blanch, whiten
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a flower) lose freshness and wither.
      • ‘Plants need regular water throughout the growing season, but especially until six weeks after flowers fade.’
      • ‘Potato tubers begin forming when the flowers fade: after that, the crop can be harvested as needed.’
      • ‘After the flowers of spring bulbs fade, the remaining foliage is left to wilt and die back.’
      • ‘I have always cut mine down when the flower has faded but according to Synnott this is not a good idea as they prefer to die back naturally.’
      • ‘When the flowers have faded, discard the bulbs.’
      • ‘Pressed flowers will fade in the light, so they need to be in the dark, ideally in a drawer.’
      • ‘She also pointed out that fresh flowers soon faded and died.’
      • ‘After the flowers fade, the green foliage provides shady relief from the hot summer sun and forms a lush canopy for outdoor dining.’
      • ‘Even though fresh flowers will eventually fade, your bouquet doesn't have to disappear.’
      • ‘Once all the flowers on a stem have faded, it can be cut back and with luck, a new spike will be waiting to take its place.’
      • ‘For on cold autumn days, when all other flowers were fading away, only the chrysanthemum was able to flourish in the cold winds.’
      • ‘Once the flowers have faded, start pruning climbing roses’
      • ‘Special care is given to the gourd plant as it grows and forms fruit after its flowers fade.’
      • ‘After topmost flowers fade, cut the stem back to a side blossom, bud, or leaf.’
      • ‘As a rule of thumb, late-flowering species should be pruned in early spring, early flowering ones after the flowers have faded.’
      • ‘People often wonder what to do when tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, Easter lilies, and other spring-blooming bulb flowers have faded.’
      • ‘After the flowers fade, seedpods form, then burst, revealing silky seeds.’
      • ‘While spring and summer flowers and fall color dazzle, it is more difficult to create interest when the flowers fade or the leaves drop.’
      • ‘It is safest to prune, when needed, as soon as flowers fade because buds are set almost immediately for the next season.’
      • ‘‘I will record the whole process, as these lotus seed pods fade, wither, and dry up,’ Wang said.’
      wither, wilt, droop, shrivel, decay, die, perish
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Gradually become thin and weak, especially to the point of death.
      • ‘As Nariman gradually fades away into the passive state of the bedridden invalid, the novel places Yezad on center stage.’
      • ‘It is painful to see such infants gradually fading away over a number of weeks or months, when everybody hopes for a speedy end.’
      • ‘Seeing a man cry like that, I could not control myself and my partner faded away behind the fall of my own tears.’
      • ‘She also holds sessions that deal with death and dying-among people who are literally fading away.’
      decrease, decline, diminish, dwindle, shrink, contract, taper off, tail off, subside, slacken, droop, sink, ebb, dim, fade away, grow faint, lessen, dissolve, peter out, wind down, fall off, attenuate, be on the way out, abate, fail, recede, slump, flag, atrophy, become weak, weaken, give in, give way, melt away, deteriorate, crumble, wither, disintegrate, degenerate, evaporate, collapse, go downhill, draw to a close, vanish, die out
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 (of a racehorse, runner, etc.) lose strength or drop back, especially after a promising start.
      ‘she faded near the finish’
      • ‘But the Nicky Henderson trained horse showed his strength as McCoy's mount faded in the home straight.’
      • ‘Kew Green, the well-backed 7-2 favourite fades as soon as the runners came out of Tattenham Corner and trails in down the field.’
      • ‘Much of the early running had been made by the Michael Jarvis-trained Rakti but he faded with three furlongs to go.’
      • ‘John Gosden's French 1,000 Guineas winner Zenda flattered briefly in the straight but faded to finish last of the 15 runners.’
      • ‘Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando made the lead in mid stretch but faded over the final furlong to finish fourth.’
      • ‘Abbondanza set the early pace in the Sprint before fading to finish 11 th.’
      • ‘Her strength had not faded in the least, not even after the injuries she had received.’
      • ‘Illiquidity held a narrow lead a quarter-mile from the finish before fading.’
      • ‘His jockey, Philip Robinson did an excellent job calming him down for the race, but in many respects the damage had been done, and he faded in the final furlongs.’
      • ‘Godolphin Racing's Moon Ballad faded badly to finish last in the five-horse field.’
      • ‘His great weight almost jerked her off the bridge, but she pulled him up from the hungry flames as her own strength faded.’
      • ‘Sand Springs set the pace before fading late to finish seventh.’
      • ‘Volponi, last year's shock winner of the Classic at odds of 43-1, showed early on but faded in the back straight.’
      • ‘Despite her protest her strength was fading like a dying star.’
      • ‘The John Gosden-trained colt took up the lead coming into the home straight but faded in the final furlong.’
      • ‘He held the lead through six furlongs before fading.’
      • ‘The early pacesetter faded to last, and Regal Thunder ran on to finish second.’
      • ‘The competition has only lasted one minute, but both girls are breathing hard, and Lisa feels her strength fading.’
      • ‘He eventually faded to finish 13 th, 27 lengths behind runaway winner Monarchos.’
      • ‘His magic boost faded and his strength was back to normal.’
    5. 1.5 (of a radio signal) gradually lose intensity.
      ‘the signal faded away’
      • ‘In the special circumstance of extreme cooling, where both noise and signal are fading together, it may well be that only the analog implementation works.’
      • ‘The radio noise fades and we're left looking at an empty farmhouse.’
      • ‘However, the dimness of that X-ray signal and its rapid fading made the observations difficult to interpret.’
      • ‘She queried, but it was no use, the signal faded completely and she was lost.’
      • ‘The voice from the radio faded into the deafening hiss of static.’
      • ‘I could locate weak signals that were interesting - but they would rapidly fade away.’
      • ‘That disproves nothing as Jessica's mobile phone signal has been traced to this area until 1.30 am when the signal faded as the battery died or it was switched off.’
      • ‘Had the cable been laid directly from South Africa to Australia, the signal would have faded too much to be recoverable.’
      • ‘Their only contact with the outside world is through a transistor radio, its signals fading in and out.’
      • ‘He slapped the wheel in disgust, then reached over to fiddle with the radio as it faded out again.’
      • ‘It was fun to eavesdrop on this community for an hour or so until their radio signal faded.’
    6. 1.6 (of a vehicle brake) become temporarily less efficient as a result of frictional heating.
      • ‘It was only in the closing stages when Paul's brakes faded slightly that he had to back off the chase.’
      • ‘Their brakes fade, clutches burn and chassis flex; they dig in, roll around and break traction at absurdly low speeds, but with great drama.’
      • ‘The brakes are easy to handle and get a hard grip, even after a few hard braking sessions no fading is apparent.’
  • 2with adverbial (with reference to film and television images) come or cause to come gradually into or out of view, or to merge into another shot.

    no object ‘fade into scenes of rooms strewn with festive remains’
    with object ‘some shots have to be faded in’
    • ‘The shot fades out and comes back up the next morning with Kanzaki, asleep at his desk, being awoken by an impatient man holding a tux.’
    • ‘Then Beauty's silhouette remains facing away from the camera in the shot, but her image fades out of the frame next to her and is replaced by the image of the sick Beast.’
    • ‘The image on the view screen faded to nothing and was quickly replaced with an animation of the projected path of the rocket.’
    • ‘The final shot of the previous scenes fades into the first shot of the next scene.’
    • ‘But later a scene faded out, only to fade back in to the same people in the same room.’
    • ‘The television finally faded into commercial, and Colin clicked the mute button, turning to Lizzie.’
    • ‘I started to tear as the images of my father faded out of the scene.’
    • ‘In fact, the extra content is what sticks to my mind now, while the film itself is fading to a pleasantly dissonant collection of images and emotions.’
    • ‘The film keeps fading out and telling us that it's one year or three years or six months later, and it's fun to catch up to where these people have ended up.’
    • ‘We are the last couple seen on that video as the shot fades into a picture of the ship.’
    • ‘Illuminated in the darkness by a helicopter searchlight, McCaleb falls into unconsciousness, the film fades to white, and the next scene is a doctor's office two years later.’
    • ‘And those are the last words as the film turns to a beautiful sunset and fades to black.’
    • ‘As the first half of the film fades out to blackness, so does the spectator's perception of lingering domestic comfort.’
    • ‘Moroccan music comes up on the soundtrack, and the image fades to black.’
    • ‘And when the film's final scene fades to black, you will be even more eager to see how Batman Continues.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the mask fills the screen, and it fades into a black-and-white scene in a club; this image then slowly turns into full color.’
    • ‘It is on this arresting image that the projection fades.’
    • ‘Beyond the initial title card, the film fades out on several ‘where are they now’ cards.’
    • ‘Even as the image fades to black and the credits roll, you continue to hear the tapping underneath the music until the credits end.’
    • ‘They change pace through fading montages of static images.’
    1. 2.1 (with reference to recorded sound) increase or decrease in volume or merge into another recording.
      no object ‘they let you edit the digital data, making it fade in and out’
      with object ‘fade up natural sound’
      • ‘In "Safe Return", high-pitched strings fade in as if the birds fly highly to the sky.’
      • ‘The sound is fading in and out, when the record is interrupted with news of an imminent tornado heading for Kansas.’
      • ‘You can have the sound fade in and fade out or adjust the volume as necessary.’
  • 3Golf
    (of the ball) deviate to the right (or, for a left-handed golfer, the left), typically as a result of spin given to the ball.

    • ‘McTeirnan was desperately unlucky with the conversion with the ball fading to the right and wide from a difficult angle.’
    • ‘The ball will slice or fade, but by opening the clubface you are adding loft to the club, which will produce a higher-trajectory ball flight.’
    • ‘Logic prevailed, I followed his advice, and the ball faded beautifully onto the green, just as he had predicted.’
    1. 3.1with object (of a golfer) cause (the ball) to deviate.
      ‘he had to fade the ball around a light pole’
      Compare with draw (sense 7 of the verb)
      • ‘Though this drill is normally used to help cure the slice swing of a beginner, it can help a good player make the switch from fading the ball to hitting a draw.’
      • ‘Hence, Jay fades the ball, and when he does miss a shot, it's more often a block to the right than a hook left.’
      • ‘What has me happier is that, for the first time in three years, my back is well enough to let me fade the ball again.’
      • ‘Els took a drop and attempted to fade the ball left onto the green.’
      • ‘Conversely, to fade the ball you would still aim the clubface at the target but, this time, the feet, knees, hips and shoulders would aim off to the left of the target.’
      • ‘He would fade his driver and then curve his approach shot either way.’
      • ‘He likes to fade the ball, and that hole slopes the wrong way for him.’
      • ‘Also, players who are square at the top of their swing are better drawers of the ball and are equally adept at fading it without manipulating the club with their hands.’
      • ‘If I'm playing well and have control over my ball flight, I'll go at trouble on the left and fade the ball away from it.’
      • ‘It was Demaret who influenced Hogan to weaken his grip and fade the ball, probably saving Hogan's career.’
      • ‘He could hook and fade it easily, but Byron could hit the ball dead straight on demand.’
      • ‘Yes, you can hold on and fade the ball that way, but it is very limiting.’
      • ‘If you can predictably draw or fade the ball, you'll hit more fairways, because you effectively double the size of your target.’
      • ‘Pohl once was the longest hitter on tour, even though he faded the ball.’
  • 4North American informal with object (in craps) match the bet of (another player)

    ‘Lovejoy faded him for twenty-five cents’
    • ‘Hopefully he faded the bet in Vegas and walked away a winner tonight.’
    • ‘If the cards miss out (lose), the players who faded the center bet each receive back their money together with the equivalent amount of the center bet.’


  • 1The process of becoming less bright.

    ‘the sun can cause color-fade’
    • ‘One reason behind the evening news fade is that it's still scheduled for an era when moms stayed at home and cooked for dad, who didn't have a long commute.’
    • ‘Carpenter's late-season fade and Pettitte's fine second half helped sort out the runners-up.’
    • ‘Life, death, bloom and fade are intimately coupled.’
    1. 1.1 An act of causing a film or television picture to darken and disappear gradually.
      ‘a fade to black would bring the sequence to a close’
      Compare with fade-out
      • ‘So why did the visual quality have to be ruined by unreasonable reliance on slow motion and constant fades?’
      • ‘With abrupt fades to black, punctuated by mysterious notes, the auteur got Grace Kelly and Grant together for a magnificent piece of work.’
      • ‘In the earlier film, a cut or a fade to black made minutes or even hours disappear.’
      • ‘His use of split screen and fade through flashbacks is so imaginative that there are moments when the film is artistically stimulating.’
      • ‘The autonomous scenes separated by fades to black in Flowers Of Shanghai testify to Hou's increasing desire to absorb the out-of-field into the frame itself.’
      • ‘A handful of judicious cuts and fades would have given Black Widow a moodier bent and sharper emotional focus.’
      • ‘Some proper editing and you could do away with the fades to black entirely, giving a much better continuity to the picture.’
      • ‘Remember to record your perceptions on paper after each stage, and then simply compare notes with friends, laugh, and repeat until fade.’
      • ‘However, all of these points of constancy and change are brought to light for the most part due to the extreme redundancy of the film's fades and the organisational role they play.’
      • ‘The possibility of using temporality as a narrative catalyst has been exploited in cinema, as in classic Hollywood dissolves and fades.’
      • ‘Other highlights include a surprising fade to black followed by an agonizing wait until a crucial plot event is revealed.’
      • ‘Tracy is a girl who believes in repaying her debts, so another fight scene leads back to Bond's hotel room and a fade to black.’
      • ‘After a fade to black, our heroes awake to find they are only two, as Pete seems to have been turned into a frog.’
      • ‘The screen then fills with a close-up of her laughing face before a complete fade.’
      • ‘A visual device such as a fade, dissolve or wipe, also includes superimposing and other special effects.’
      • ‘Bresson gives us the beginnings and ends of conversations, cut short by dissolves or fades to black.’
      • ‘The fades to black that editors insert in programs are just an effect.’
  • 2Golf
    A shot causing the ball to deviate to the right (or, for a left-handed golfer, the left), usually purposely.

    • ‘I hit a few hooks, slices, low shots and high fades.’
    • ‘Many good players feel they control the ball better with a fade.’
    • ‘During tricky situations, the caddy is also unable to recommend punch shots, draws, fades or flops.’
    • ‘Trying to hit a draw when your usual ball flight is a fade increases your tension level, making a hard shot that much harder.’
    • ‘One of the most useful shots I've found for saving strokes is the low fade.’
    1. 2.1American Football A pass thrown so that the ball descends directly over the receiver's shoulder, especially as they veer toward the sideline.
      ‘shortly after receiving the snap, he threw a fade to Crabtree’
      as modifier ‘he scores on a beautiful fade pass to the back of the end zone’


  • do a fade

    • informal Run away.

      ‘he would have done a fade if he had seen somebody’
      • ‘Behind her, the lights faded and the computer did a quick fade to a multi-hued sunset, a dark, starry night, and finally a blank screen.’
      • ‘Coming off the solo, I sang the last verse with the existing loop and then did a slow fade to end the song.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • fade back

    • Move back from the scrimmage line.

      • ‘Notice the way a Pro quarterback FADES back almost with the HIKE.’
      • ‘When you are do going to do a blitz, run up to the line of scrimmage then fade back until you are behind the ref [referee].’
      • ‘On pass plays, drops back as quarterback begins to fade back, picks up legality of blocks by near linemen.’
      • ‘He can fade back, take a five-step drop, and just before he throws it, look into a camera and say, "Mel Kiper, this is for you."’


Middle English (in the sense ‘grow weak’): from Old French fader, from fade ‘dull, insipid’, probably based on a blend of Latin fatuus ‘silly, insipid’ and vapidus ‘vapid’.