ADJ. catastrophic, considerable, dramatic, drastic, massive, marked, precipitate, precipitous, rapid, serious, sharp, significant, steep, substantial | gentle, gradual, modest, slight, slow | continuing, progressive, steady a steady decline in manufacturing | general, long-term, overall | absolute, inevitable, inexorable, irreversible, terminal an industry in terminal decline | economic, industrial, moral, political, urban the moral decline of the nation | national
VERB + DECLINE fall into, go into, suffer The cloth trade went into gradual decline. | cause, lead to The increased gold price lead to the decline of his jewellery business. | arrest, halt, stop We must halt this decline in health services. | prevent | accelerate | see We have seen a sharp decline in educational standards over recent years.
PREP. in ~ The motor industry is still in decline. | on the ~ This area has been on the decline for some years now. | ~ in a steep decline in sales | ~ of the decline of British farming
PHRASES the decline and fall of sth the decline and fall of a great civilization
ADV. politely | absolutely I absolutely decline to discuss my dealings with him or anyone.
2 become smaller/weaker
ADV. considerably, dramatically, drastically, markedly, sharply, significantly, steeply The economy has declined sharply in recent years. | a little, slightly | fast, rapidly The market for these products is declining fast. | steadily | gradually, slowly | further
PREP. by Profits declined by 6% this year. | from, to The number of full-time staff has declined from 300 to just 50.
PHRASES decline in importance/numbers/size This section of the market has slowly declined in importance.