1. A withdrawing or retiring; a moving back; retreat; as, the recess of the tides. "Every degree of ignorance being so far a recess and degradation from rationality." (South) "My recess hath given them confidence that I may be conquered." (Eikon Basilike)
2. The state of being withdrawn; seclusion; privacy. "In the recess of the jury they are to consider the evidence." (Sir M. Hale) "Good verse recess and solitude requires." (Dryden)
3. Remission or suspension of business or procedure; intermission, as of a legislative body, court, or school. "The recess of . . . Parliament lasted six weeks." (Macaulay)
4. Part of a room formed by the receding of the wall, as an alcove, niche, etc. "A bed which stood in a deep recess." (W. Irving)
5. A place of retirement, retreat, secrecy, or seclusion. "Departure from his happy place, our sweet Recess, and only consolation left." (Milton)
6. Secret or abstruse part; as, the difficulties and recesses of science.
7. <botany> A sinus.
Origin: L. Recessus, fr. Recedere, recessum. See Recede.
(01 Mar 1998)