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See also: récession


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Borrowed from Latin recessiō, from recēdō (recede, retreat), from re- (back) + cēdō (to go).


  • IPA(key): /ɹɪˈsɛʃn̩/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛʃən
  • Hyphenation: re‧ces‧sion


recession (countable and uncountable, plural recessions)

  1. The act or an instance of receding or withdrawing.
    Synonym: withdrawal
    • a. 1667, Jeremy Taylor, “Of Growth in Sin”, in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, new edition, volume IV, London: Longman et al., published 1850, page 520:
      [] that light may break forth from the deepest enclosures of darkness, and mercy may rejoice upon the recessions of justice, and grace may triumph upon the ruin of sin, and God may be glorified in the miracles of our conversion, and the wonders of our preservation and glories of our being saved.
  2. A period of low temperatures that causes a reduction in species; ice age.
    • 1955, A History of the Croatian People from Their Arrival on the Shores of the Adriatic to the Present Day, page 4:
      Eastward in Bosnia, while the central European clime prevails, the thermic gradient does not follow the recession in the north latitude, but the elevation of the terrain.
    • 2004, Wayne Kenneth David Davies, Writing Geographical Exploration, page 96:
      Had this climate recession not occurred, the settlements might have provided the first real bridgehead into the continent of America, rather than being rediscovered by Columbus and later by Cabot.
    • 2019, Peter Vincent, The Biogeography of the British Isles: An Introduction, page 209:
      The climatic recession which produced Britain's last glaciers came rapidly to an end about 10,000 bp, as temperatures rose during the end of the protocratic phase of the present interglacial.
  3. (economics) A period of reduced economic activity
    Antonym: boom
    Statisticians often define a recession as negative real GDP growth during two consecutive quarters.
  4. The ceremonial filing out of clergy and/or choir at the end of a church service.
    Synonym: return procession
  5. The act of ceding something back.
  6. (surgery) A procedure in which an extraocular muscle is detached from the globe of the eye and reattached posteriorly.
    • 2011, George L. Spaeth, Helen Danesh-Meyer, Ivan Goldberg, Ophthalmic Surgery: Principles and Practice E-Book, page 467:
      Bilateral medial rectus muscle recession when angle is stable. Controversy exists regarding optimal timing of surgery. If greater than 40 prism diopter esotropia, some recommend bimedial recession with resection of one lateral rectus muscle.

Derived terms[edit]