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, this word has taken on the sense of fading or growing faint, as in "The ghostly vision of a woman receded into the fog."

Definitions of recede
  1. verb
    pull back or move away or backward
    synonyms: 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
    see moresee less
    advance, go on, march on, move on, pass on, progress
    move forward, also in the metaphorical sense
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    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
  2. verb
    synonyms: drop off, fall back, fall behind, lose
    see moresee less
    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
  3. verb
    become faint or more distant
    “the unhappy memories of her childhood receded as she grew older”
    see moresee less
    fall away or decline
    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month