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recess definition


This page has 20 definitions of recess in English and Swedish. Recess is a noun, verb and adjective. Examples of how to use recess in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Recess

English recess definition


Mid 16th century borrowing from Latin recessus (retreat, departure; a secret spot, nook, corner), from recēdō (to go back, retire, withdraw) +‎ -tus (action noun suffix).



recess (countable and uncountable, plural recesses)

  1. (archaic) A withdrawing or retiring; a moving back.
    Synonyms: recession, retreat
    the recess of the tides
    • 1649, Charles I of England, Eikon Basilike, page 49:
      My recess hath given them confidence that I may be conquered.
    • 1692–1717, Robert South, “every degree of ignorance being so far a recess and degradation from rationality”, in Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), 6th edition, London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, OCLC 21766567:
    1. The state of being withdrawn.
      Synonyms: privacy, seclusion
      • 1695, C[harles] A[lphonse] du Fresnoy, “Good verse recess and solitude requires.”, in John Dryden, transl., De Arte Graphica. The Art of Painting, [], London: [] J[ohn] Heptinstall for W. Rogers, [], OCLC 261121781:
      • 1713, [Matthew Hale], “Touching Trials by Jury”, in The History of the Common Law of England: [], [London]: [] J[ohn] Nutt, assignee of Edw[ard] Sayer Esq; for J. Walthoe, [], OCLC 723462176, page 260:
        [] When the Evidence is fully given, the Jurors withdraw to a private Place, [] In this Receſs of the Jury they are to conſider their Evidence, []
  2. A place of retirement, retreat, secrecy, or seclusion.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book X”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      Departure from this happy place, our sweet
      Recess, and onely consolation left
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 3, page 18:
      The recesses of the forest answered well the purposes of concealment, and Lucy was useful both as an unsuspected messenger, and also for the intelligence she was able to obtain.
  3. A small space created by building part of a wall further back from the rest.
    Synonyms: indentation, alcove
    1. An inset, hole, hollow space or opening.
      Hyponyms: piriform recess, sphenoethmoidal recess
      Put a generous recess behind the handle for finger space.
      • 1964 April, G. Freeman Allen, “The BRB shows traders the Liner train prototypes”, in Modern Railways, volume 19, number 187, page 265:
        The Liner train wagon is a simple underframe on bogies, with coned location points that engage recesses in the container bases.
    2. (usually in the plural) A remote, secret or abstruse place.
      the difficulties and recesses of science
      • 1741, I[saac] Watts, “Five Methods of Improvement deſcribed and compared, viz. Obſervation, Reading, Inſtruction by Lectures, Converſation, and Study, with their ſeveral Advantages and Defects”, in The Improvement of the Mind: Or, A Supplement to the Art of Logick: [], London: [] James Brackstone, [], OCLC 723474632, page 42:
        CONVERSATION calls out into Light what has been lodged in all the Receſſes and ſecret Chambers of the Soul: []
  4. (countable or uncountable) A break, pause or vacation.
    Synonyms: break, day off, hiatus, moratorium; see also Thesaurus:pause, Thesaurus:vacation
    Spring recess offers a good chance to travel.
    1. (government) A period of time when the proceedings of a parliament, committee, court of law, or other official body are temporarily suspended.
    2. (Canada, US, Australia, UK (in certain public schools)) A time of play during the school day, usually on a playground.
      Synonyms: (UK) break, playtime
      Students who do not listen in class will not play outside during recess.
  5. A decree of the imperial diet of the old German empire.
    • 1777, William Russell, The History of Modern Europe:
      The famous Recess of Augsburgh, which is the basis of religious peace in Germany.

Derived terms



recess (third-person singular simple present recesses, present participle recessing, simple past and past participle recessed)

  1. (transitive) To inset into something, or to recede.
    Wow, look at how that gargoyle recesses into the rest of architecture.
    Recess the screw so it does not stick out.
    1. (transitive) To make a recess in.
      to recess a wall
    2. To place in a recess.
      • 1962 January, “Talking of Trains: Track re-arrangement at Colwich”, in Modern Railways, page 10:
        It will also enable slower-moving freight trains to be recessed in the new down goods loop to await, if necessary, a suitable margin before proceeding to Stafford or Stoke and so reduce confliction with other main-line trains.
  2. (Canada, US, intransitive, of formal proceedings) To take or declare a break.
    Class will recess for 20 minutes.
    1. (transitive) To suspend (formal proceedings) temporarily.
    2. (government, intransitive, of an official body) To suspend its proceedings for a period of time.
      This court shall recess for its normal two hour lunch now.
  3. (transitive, informal) To appoint, with a recess appointment.
    • 2013 January 14, Michael Grunwald, “Cliff Dweller”, in Time, volume 181, number 1, ISSN 0040-781X, page 27:
      To the National Rifle Association's delight, the Senate has hobbled the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by failing to confirm a director since 2006, but Obama hasn't made a recess appointment. [] "The President's view of his own power is a constrained one," says White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. "Many of his nominees have languished, but he's only recessed the ones that were critical to keep agencies functioning."

Derived terms

Related terms



recess (comparative more recess, superlative most recess)

  1. (obsolete, rare, of time or place) Remote, distant.
    • 1632, Thomas Salusbury, transl., Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems:
      I should think it best in the subsequent discourses to begin to examine whether the Earth be esteemed immoveable, as it hath been till now believed by most men, or else moveable, as some ancient Philosophers held, and others of not very recesse times were of opinion; []



Swedish recess definition


recess c

  1. a decision, an agreement, a return (to previous conditions)
  2. a recess, a niche


Declension of recess 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative recess recessen recesser recesserna
Genitive recess recessens recessers recessernas


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