De·cline v. i. [imp. & p. p. Declined p. pr. & vb. n. Declining.]
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.”
He . . . would decline even to the lowest of his family. --Lady Hutchinson.
Disdaining to decline,
Slowly he falls, amidst triumphant cries. --Byron.
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 declines.
That empire must decline
Whose chief support and sinews are of coin. --Waller.
And presume to know . . .
Who thrives, and who declines. --Shak.
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·clined a. Declinate.