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See more synonyms for decentralize on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), de·cen·tral·ized, de·cen·tral·iz·ing.
  1. to distribute the administrative powers or functions of (a central authority) over a less concentrated area: to decentralize the national government.
  2. to disperse (something) from an area of concentration: to decentralize the nation's industry.
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verb (used without object), de·cen·tral·ized, de·cen·tral·iz·ing.
  1. to undergo decentralization: The city government is looking for ways to decentralize.
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Also especially British, de·cen·tral·ise.

Origin of decentralize

First recorded in 1850–55; de- + centralize
Related formsde·cen·tral·ist, nounde·cen·tral·i·za·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for decentralized

scatter, disperse, distribute, separate, broadcast, circulate, disseminate, divvy, partition, propagate, allot, allocate, apportion

Examples from the Web for decentralized

Contemporary Examples of decentralized

Historical Examples of decentralized

  • In fact, it is the most decentralized movement in the world today.

    The I.W.W.

    Paul Frederick Brissenden

  • The whole proposition can be decentralized for the good of the service.

  • He has a social consciousness and a social passion of his own, but it is decentralized, one might say.


    Knut Hamsun

  • The plan is national in scope and operation, yet it is decentralized.

  • New marches were formed, traversing the previous Lombard fabric and introducing divisions that decentralized the kingdom.

British Dictionary definitions for decentralized



  1. to reorganize (a government, industry, etc) into smaller more autonomous units
  2. to disperse (a concentration, as of industry or population)
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Derived Formsdecentralist, noun, adjectivedecentralization or 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

Word Origin and History for decentralized



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper