1. To bend, or lean downward; to take a downward direction; to bend over or hang down, as from weakness,
weariness, despondency, etc.; to condescend. "With declining head." Shak.
He . . . would decline even to the lowest of his family.Lady Hutchinson.
Disdaining to decline,Byron.
Slowly he falls, amidst triumphant cries.
The ground at length became broken and declined rapidly.Sir W. Scott.
2. 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
That empire must declineWaller.
Whose chief support and sinews are of coin.
And presume to know . . .Shak.
Who thrives, and who declines.
3. 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.
4. To turn away; to shun; to refuse; the opposite of accept or consent; as, he declined, upon principle.
(De*cline"), v. t.
1. To bend downward; to bring down; to depress; to cause to bend, or fall.
In melancholy deep, with head declined.Thomson.
And now fair Phoebus gan decline in hasteSpenser.
His weary wagon to the western vale.
2. To cause to decrease or diminish. [Obs.] "You have declined his means." Beau. & Fl.
He knoweth his error, but will not seek to decline it.Burton.
3. 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?
4. (Gram.) 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
After the first declining of a noun and a verb.Ascham.
5. To run through from first to last; to repeat like a schoolboy declining a noun. [R.] Shak.
(De*cline") n. [F. déclin. See Decline, v. i.]