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recession (n.)

1640s, "act of receding, a going back," from French récession "a going backward, a withdrawing," and directly from Latin recessionem (nominative recessio) "a going back," noun of action from past participle stem 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").

Sense of "temporary decline in economic activity," 1929, noun of action from recess (q.v.):

The material prosperity of the United States is too firmly based, in our opinion, for a revival in industrial activity -- even if we have to face an immediate recession of some magnitude -- to be long delayed. ["Economist," Nov. 2, 1929]

Ayto notes, "There was more than a hint of euphemism in the coining of this term."

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Definitions of recession from WordNet

recession (n.)
the state of the economy declines; a widespread decline in the GDP and employment and trade lasting from six months to a year;
recession (n.)
the withdrawal of the clergy and choir from the chancel to the vestry at the end of a church service;
Synonyms: recessional
recession (n.)
the act of ceding back;
Synonyms: ceding back
recession (n.)
the act of becoming more distant;
Synonyms: receding
recession (n.)
a small concavity;
Synonyms: recess / niche / corner
From wordnet.princeton.edu