De*cline" (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Declined (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Declining.] [OE. declinen to bend down, lower, sink, decline (a noun), F. d'ecliner to decline, refuse, fr. L. declinare to turn aside, inflect (a part of speech), avoid; de- + clinare to incline; akin to E. lean. See Lean, v. i.]
To bend, or lean downward; to take a downward direction; to bend over or hang down, as from weakness, weariness, despondency, etc.; to condescend.
He . . . would decline even to the lowest of his family.
Disdaining to decline,
Slowly he falls, amidst triumphant cries.
The ground at length became broken and declined rapidly.
Sir W. Scott.
To tend or draw towards a close, decay, or extinction; to tend to a less perfect state; to become diminished or impaired; to fail; to sink; to diminish; to lessen; as, the day declines; virtue declines; religion declines; business declines.
That empire must decline
Whose chief support and sinews are of coin.
And presume to know . . .
Who thrives, and who declines.
To turn or bend aside; to deviate; to stray; to withdraw; as, a line that declines from straightness; conduct that declines from sound morals.
Yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.
Ps. cxix. 157.
To turn away; to shun; to refuse; -- the opposite of accept or consent; as, he declined, upon principle.
© Webster 1913.
De*cline", v. t.
To bend downward; to bring down; to depress; to cause to bend, or fall.
In melancholy deep, with head declined.
And now fair Phoebus gan decline in haste
His weary wagon to the western vale.
To cause to decrease or diminish.
[Obs.] "You have declined
Beau. & Fl.
He knoweth his error, but will not seek to decline it.
To put or turn aside; to turn off or away from; to refuse to undertake or comply with; reject; to shun; to avoid; as, to decline an offer; to decline a contest; he declined any participation with them.
Decline this dreadful hour?
To inflect, or rehearse in order the changes of grammatical form of; as, to decline a noun or an adjective.
⇒ Now restricted to such words as have case inflections; but formerly it was applied both to declension and conjugation.
After the first declining of a noun and a verb.
To run through from first to last; to repeat like a schoolboy declining a noun.
© Webster 1913.
De*cline" (?), n. [F. d'eclin. See Decline, v. i.]
A falling off; a tendency to a worse state; diminution or decay; deterioration; also, the period when a thing is tending toward extinction or a less perfect state; as, the decline of life; the decline of strength; the decline of virtue and religion.
Their fathers lived in the decline of literature.
That period of a disorder or paroxysm when the symptoms begin to abate in violence; as, the decline of a fever.
A gradual sinking and wasting away of the physical faculties; any wasting disease, esp. pulmonary consumption; as, to die of a decline.
Syn. -- Decline, Decay, Consumption. Decline marks the first stage in a downward progress; decay indicates the second stage, and denotes a tendency to ultimate destruction; consumption marks a steady decay from an internal exhaustion of strength. The health may experience a decline from various causes at any period of life; it is naturally subject to decay with the advance of old age; consumption may take place at almost any period of life, from disease which wears out the constitution. In popular language decline is often used as synonymous with consumption. By a gradual decline, states and communities lose their strength and vigor; by progressive decay, they are stripped of their honor, stability, and greatness; by a consumption of their resources and vital energy, they are led rapidly on to a completion of their existence.
© Webster 1913.