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.
- dec·i·ma·tion [des-uh-mey-shuhn], /ˌdɛs əˈmeɪ ʃən/, noun
- dec·i·ma·tor, noun
- decimate , destroy (see word story at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use decimate in a sentence
Pre-combination therapies, AIDS was still exerting its decimating effect, with all the extra bigotry around that.How Robin Williams’ Mrs. Doubtfire Won the Culture Wars | Tim Teeman | August 13, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Assault rifles—rebranded “sporting rifles,” in case your sport might be decimating a small village in under a minute.Preparing for War in Indianapolis: Inside the NRA Plot to Terrify America | Cliff Schecter | April 28, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
If decimating rainforests is good for individual survival and reproduction, then that is what is going to happen.
Of course they fail to recognize that excessive wingnuttery is decimating their societies.
Or actually, there is a way—decimating entitlement programs.
Destructive lumbering, usually followed by devastating forest fires, was fast decimating the virgin pine forests.Our National Forests | Richard H. Douai Boerker
So as she worked and planted, unavoidably decimating a worm here and turning up an ants nest there, she conned it all over.Bluebell | Mrs. George Croft Huddleston
They informed me that a malevolent Genius had been enraged with them for more than a year and was decimating the population.Indo-China and Its Primitive People | Henry Baudesson
The procedure had dragged on for years, decimating the better class like a pestilence.Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard | Joseph Conrad
Did the germs of some epidemic invade the country, decimating the population by disease and poverty?The Argentine in the Twentieth Century | Albert B. Martinez
British Dictionary definitions for decimate
to destroy or kill a large proportion of: a plague decimated the population
(esp in the ancient Roman army) to kill every tenth man of (a mutinous section)
- decimation, noun
- decimator, 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