Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A downward slope, as of a hill.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the downward slope of a hill
  • n. a downward bend in a path

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Deviation from a horizontal line; gradual descent of surface; inclination downward; slope; -- opposed to acclivity, or ascent; the same slope, considered as descending, being a declivity, which, considered as ascending, is an acclivity.
  • n. A descending surface; a sloping place.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A downward slope.
  • n. In entomology, a part gently sloping away from the general plane of a surface.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a downward slope or bend

Etymologies

Latin dēclīvitās, from dēclīvis, sloping down : dē-, de- + clīvus, slope; see klei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1610s, from French déclivité, from Latin declivitatem/dēclīvitās, from dēclivis ("a sloping downward"), from de ("down") + clīvus ("a slope"), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱleywo-, from Proto-Indo-European *ḱley- (“to lean”) (English lean). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Sufetula was built one hundred and fifty miles to the south of Carthage: a gentle declivity is watered by a running stream, and shaded by a grove of juniper-trees; and, in the ruins of a triumpha arch, a portico, and three temples of the Corinthian order, curiosity may yet admire the magnificence of the Romans.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • At the bottom of the declivity was a pond of water bubbling and steaming.

    The Dodge Club or, Italy in MDCCCLIX

  • On a shelf or cup of the declivity was a little clump of vegetation, and in the midst of it welled up a thin stream of water.

    The Golden Fleece

  • The declivity is the greatest of the whole river with the exception of the First Granite Gorge of the Grand

    The Romance of the Colorado River

  • "First imagine to yourself a superb position, a steep mountain, bristling with rocks, furrowed with ravines and precipices; upon the declivity is the castle.

    English Villages

  • Five years in narrow walls had unfitted me for the enormous declivity of the stairway, for the vastitude of the prison yard.

    Chapter 22

  • Three sides were thus defended, the steep declivity at the rear precluding attack from that direction.

    THE GOD OF HIS FATHERS

  • But again, after the car rested a minute, the light, dry earth began to crack and crumble away from under the tires, rolling in a miniature avalanche down the steep declivity into the water.

    WHOSE BUSINESS IS TO LIVE

  • A few hundred yards from the trail was a steep and narrow declivity like something out of a Tony Hillerman story.

    Bird Cloud

  • "The whole is a sweet Spot of Earth, not a Span hardly uncultivated with Sugar-Canes; all sides bend with an easy declivity to the Sea, and is ever green," was how one visitor described the island in the 1730s.

    Colonial riches in Barbados

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