Recede means to pull back, retreat, or become faint or distant. Flood waters recede, as do glaciers, and even abstractions like "panic" and "hope." Think "receding hairline." (That means bald.)

Cede means to yield. Politicians, after losing an election will "cede the field" or "concede the race." Recede means to yield back. Over time it has collected a sense of fading, or growing faint, as in "The ghostly vision of a woman receded into the fog."

Definitions of recede

v pull back or move away or backward

draw back, move back, pull away, pull back, retire, retreat, withdraw
back away, back out, crawfish, crawfish out, pull back, pull in one's horns, retreat, withdraw
make a retreat from an earlier commitment or activity
advance, go on, march on, move on, pass on, progress
move forward, also in the metaphorical sense
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fall back
move back and away from
retreat, retrograde
move back
back down, back off, back up
move backwards from a certain position
ebb, ebb away, ebb down, ebb off, ebb out
flow back or recede
Type of:
go, locomote, move, travel
change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically

v retreat

drop off, fall back, fall behind, lose
advance, gain, gain ground, get ahead, make headway, pull ahead, win
obtain advantages, such as points, etc.
Type of:
regress, retrograde, retrogress
get worse or fall back to a previous condition

v become faint or more distant

“the unhappy memories of her childhood receded as she grew older”
fall away or decline
Type of:
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

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