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[ri-ses, ree-ses] /rɪˈsɛs, ˈri sɛs/
temporary withdrawal or cessation from the usual work or activity.
a period of such withdrawal.
a receding part or space, as a bay or alcove in a room.
an indentation in a line or extent of coast, hills, forest, etc.
recesses, a secluded or inner area or part:
in the recesses of the palace.
verb (used with object)
to place or set in a recess.
to set or form as or like a recess; make a recess or recesses in:
to recess a wall.
to suspend or defer for a recess:
to recess the Senate.
verb (used without object)
to take a recess.
Origin of recess
1510-20; < Latin recessus a withdrawal, receding part, equivalent to recēd(ere) to recede1 + -tus suffix of v. action, with dt > ss
Related forms
nonrecess, noun
1. respite, rest, break, vacation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for recessed
  • The ceiling has a series of recessed panels that contain incandescent downlights to further brighten and define the space.
  • At night recessed lights reflect in the pool's still waters.
  • For example, the ship's knifelike, rolled-iron hull and recessed rivets helped reduce drag as the sub cut through the water.
  • They can be used in bathroom vanity lighting, track lighting and recessed lights, and as chandelier bulbs or outdoor lights.
  • They also designed the dome's interior as a series of recessed panels, which lessened the amount of concrete needed.
  • The post office is recessed behind a small plaza bordered by shops.
  • It was a real ambiguity, tacit and sort of recessed.
  • By this measure, a vestibule would be legal only if it was built into a deeply recessed doorway-a tunnel, really.
  • They are only suitable for open fixtures, so don't use them in recessed fixtures or fixtures with globes.
  • There were recessed alcoves there with banquettes that faced each other.
British Dictionary definitions for recessed


noun (rɪˈsɛs; ˈriːsɛs)
a space, such as a niche or alcove, set back or indented
(often pl) a secluded or secret place: recesses of the mind
a cessation of business, such as the closure of Parliament during a vacation
(anatomy) a small cavity or depression in a bodily organ, part, or structure
(US & Canadian) a break between classes at a school
verb (rɪˈsɛs)
(transitive) to place or set (something) in a recess
(transitive) to build a recess or recesses in (a wall, building, etc)
Word Origin
C16: from Latin recessus a retreat, from recēdere to recede
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for recessed



1530s, "act of receding," from Latin recessus "a going back, retreat," from recessum, past participle of recedere "to recede" (see recede). 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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recessed in Medicine

recess re·cess (rē'sěs', rĭ-sěs')
A small hollow or an indented area.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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