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decimate

[ des-uh-meyt ]
/ 藞d蓻s 蓹藢me瑟t /
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See synonyms for: decimate / decimated on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), dec路i路mat路ed, dec路i路mat路ing.
to kill or destroy a great number or proportion of: The population was decimated by a plague.
to greatly reduce in number or amount: From 1975-1981, our country was not driving the space exploration agenda, and our aerospace workforce was decimated.
to cause to suffer great loss or harm: The constant eruptions that spewed forth decimated the forest and turned it to ash.
to select by lot and kill every tenth person of.
Obsolete. to take a tenth of or from.
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Origin of decimate

First recorded in 1590鈥1600; from Latin decim膩tus, past participle of decim膩re 鈥渢o punish every tenth man chosen by lot,鈥 verbal derivative of decimus 鈥渢enth,鈥 derivative of decem 鈥渢en鈥; see ten, -ate1

historical usage of decimate

The earliest English sense of decimate is 鈥渢o select by lot and execute every tenth soldier of (a unit).鈥 The extended senses 鈥渢o destroy a great proportion of; greatly reduce or damage鈥 have been criticized on etymological grounds, although these usages are common in standard English: Cholera decimated the urban population. Because the etymological sense of one-tenth remains to some extent, decimate is not ordinarily used with exact fractions or percentages: Drought has destroyed (not decimated ) nearly 80 percent of the cattle.

OTHER WORDS FROM decimate

dec路i路ma路tion [des-uh-mey-shuhn], /藢d蓻s 蓹藞me瑟 蕛蓹n/, noundec路i路ma路tor, noun

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH decimate

decimate , destroy (see word story at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use decimate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for decimate

decimate
/ (藞d蓻s瑟藢me瑟t) /

verb (tr)
to destroy or kill a large proportion ofa plague decimated the population
(esp in the ancient Roman army) to kill every tenth man of (a mutinous section)

Derived forms of decimate

decimation, noundecimator, noun

Word Origin for decimate

C17: from Latin decim膩re, from decimus tenth, from decem ten

usage for decimate

One talks about the whole of something being decimated, not a part: disease decimated the population, not disease decimated most of the population
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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