Decline 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['e]cliner 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.] 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. [1913 Webster]

He . . . would decline even to the lowest of his family. --Lady Hutchinson. [1913 Webster]

Disdaining to decline, Slowly he falls, amidst triumphant cries. --Byron. [1913 Webster]

The ground at length became broken and declined rapidly. --Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster]

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 declines. [1913 Webster]

That empire must decline Whose chief support and sinews are of coin. --Waller. [1913 Webster]

And presume to know . . . Who thrives, and who declines. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

Yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. --Ps. cxix. 157. [1913 Webster]

4. To turn away; to shun; to refuse; -- the opposite of accept or consent; as, he declined, upon principle. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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