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[dee-sen-truh-lahyz] /diˈsɛn trəˌlaɪz/
verb (used with object), decentralized, decentralizing.
to distribute the administrative powers or functions of (a central authority) over a less concentrated area:
to decentralize the national government.
to disperse (something) from an area of concentration:
to decentralize the nation's industry.
verb (used without object), decentralized, decentralizing.
to undergo decentralization:
The city government is looking for ways to decentralize.
Also, especially British, decentralise.
Origin of decentralize
First recorded in 1850-55; de- + centralize
Related forms
decentralist, noun
decentralization, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for decentralization
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This decentralization began with an organization of all the states.

    Herbert Hoover Vernon Kellogg
  • One main cause for this, perhaps, was the decentralization of the South.

  • The work of decentralization in England is rapidly going on.

    British Political Leaders

    Justin McCarthy
  • A striking feature of the competitive method is its decentralization.

    The Principles of Economics Frank A. Fetter
  • It is not a question of decentralization; it is your political fetichism which I attack.

    What is Property? P. J. Proudhon
  • The old question of centralization and decentralization had come up.

    Serbia: A Sketch Helen Leah Reed
British Dictionary definitions for decentralization


to reorganize (a government, industry, etc) into smaller more autonomous units
to disperse (a concentration, as of industry or population)
Derived Forms
decentralist, noun, adjective
decentralization, decentralisation, noun
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 decentralization

1839, from de- + centralization.



1840 (implied in decentralized), probably a back-formation from decentralization. Related: Decentralizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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