[ dee-sen-ter ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to put out of the center or make eccentric:

    The goal is to decenter the treatment zone of the eye to align with the line of sight instead of the geometric center of the cornea.

  2. to remove from a position of priority or dominance so as to give attention and influence to other viewpoints, concerns, etc.:

    The new version of the test will force high schools to teach history from a perspective that decenters whiteness.

    The author’s call to decenter the self, to make empathetic leaps toward the other, is unsentimental yet moving.

  3. Astronomy. to cause (an orbit) to follow a path in which the body being orbited is not at the center:

    A decentered orbit is temporary—all orbits around a single body become elliptical and centered in due time.

verb (used without object)

  1. to shift one’s attention from one’s usual focus or preoccupation:

    As therapists we must decenter from our own perspective and experience the client through their own way of being in the world.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of decenter1

First recorded in 1885–90; de- ( def ) + center ( def )

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Example Sentences

I still need to work on a lot of this stuff, but the clarity that you get from extricating yourself from that situation, from just trying to decenter work a little bit, I think is super powerful.

From Vox

But I want her to think well of me—I want to show her that I'm as decent as most men 'round these parts, and decenter than some.

I saw at once that he was a good deal decenter than he looked.

But it will be far decenter and better for a parties to enter into some agreement of that sort.

There was a theory in his family that it would have been a decenter thing for him to stop running about and settle down to work.

I am in another man's skin; for what, after all, is a skin but a soul's clothing, and what is clothing but a decenter skin?


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