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v. de·clined, de·clining, de·clines
1. To express polite refusal: I wanted to invite them but I was afraid they would decline.
a. To slope downward; descend: The roof declines at a steep angle.
b. To bend downward; droop: boughs declining toward the ground.
3. To degrade or lower oneself; stoop: refused to decline to their level of behavior.
4. To deteriorate gradually; fail: His health has been declining for years.
a. To sink, as the setting sun.
b. To draw to a gradual close: We made our way home as the day declined.
1. To refuse politely: I declined their offer of help.
2. To cause to slope or bend downward.
3. Grammar To inflect (a noun, a pronoun, or an adjective) for number and case.
1. The process or result of declining, especially:
a. A gradual deterioration, as in numbers, activity, or quality: "overwhelming evidence that fish stocks ... are in decline" (Jonathan Bocknek).
b. A downward movement or fall, as in price.
c. A deterioration of health: the patient's rapid decline.
2. A downward slope; a declivity: the sharp decline of the dunes to the sea.

de·clin′a·ble adj.
de·clin′er n.


1. Progressive decrease.
2. The declining period of a disease.

functional decline

The loss of independent function that often accompanies an acute illness or the cumulative effects of a chronic illness, a restriction in activities, or a change in diet, esp. in older persons.
References in periodicals archive ?
Perhaps it compensates for their political frustration, social decline, economic backwardness or their precarious living conditions.
For his shockingly bleak, but engaging (and possibly even important), despatch from the frontline of affluent social decline, Joe McGinniss Jr has focused on that glittery, yet clearly very dark, city of Las Vegas - where it seems like gambling is the least of the vices on show.
Following further social decline under Robert Mugabe's abominable regime, South Africa's cricket board yesterday severed bilateral arrangements with their neighbours.
My suspicion is that for our national media, both print and broadcast, these stories fit the mould of a slightly backward region still defined by the industrial and social decline that provided the extra cast members for Get Carter, the Likely Lads, Auf Weidersehen, Pet and Billy Elliot.
The loss of traditional food and the availability of cash bring about poor nutrition and social decline that runs contrary to the belief that an increase in income leads to progress.
Unfortunately, though, this method of deterrent, leading to execution by a bullet to the back of the skull - as with other methods seemingly more feasible which Mr Butler has mentioned in the past in tackling social decline - would never be sanctioned in fear of the human rights brigade.
The European nations, they assert, are undergoing steady economic and social decline.
It will be proof that social decline is not irreversible, that victories over fear and crime are possible, that lost ground can be regained.
COLUMNIST Peter Collins is unfair in putting much of the blame for Barry's alleged economic and social decline on the residents of the town.
He touches on everything, from social decline to the infallibility of man, before trotting off mid-song to tuck into chips.
The Social Democratic slogan: 'Keeping Germany social' (Damit Deutschland sozial bleibt) obviously had the power to convey various fears and expectations whereas the Christian Democratic slogan: 'Being social means creating employment' (Sozial ist, was Arbeit schafft) did not reach the hearts of a majority of people which, although so far still well off, fears social decline.
Indeed, he argues that criminal law was the object of a culture war in the Wilhelmine period, with liberals and socialists arguing for a more nuanced, socially grounded and psychologically sophisticated understanding of the roots of criminality and conservatives lamenting what they perceived to be a gross decline in standards of public morality, symptomatic of a broader problem of social decline in the face of burgeoning urbanization and the rise of a mass society.

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