1530s, "act of receding," from Latin recessus "a going back, retreat," from recessum, past participle of recedere "to go back, fall back; withdraw, depart, retire," from re- "back" (see re-) + cedere "to go" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield"). Meaning "hidden or remote part" first recorded 1610s; that of "period of stopping from usual work" is from 1620s, probably from parliamentary notion of "recessing" into private chambers.
1809, from recess (n.). Related: Recessed; recessing.
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