[ verb dih-krees; noun dee-krees, dih-krees ]
See synonyms for: decreasedecreaseddecreasing on

verb (used without object),de·creased, de·creas·ing.
  1. to diminish or lessen in extent, quantity, strength, power, etc.: During the ten-day march across the desert their supply of water decreased rapidly.

verb (used with object),de·creased, de·creas·ing.
  1. to make less; cause to diminish: to decrease one's work load.

  1. the act or process of decreasing; condition of being decreased; gradual reduction: a decrease in sales;a decrease in intensity.

  2. the amount by which a thing is lessened: The decrease in sales was almost 20 percent.

Origin of decrease

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English verb decresen, from Old French decreiss-, long stem of decreistre, from Latin dēcrēscere “to diminish,” literally “to grow down,” equivalent to dē- de- + crēscere “to grow”); noun derivative of the verb; see crescent

synonym study For decrease

1. Decrease, diminish, dwindle, shrink imply becoming smaller or less in amount. Decrease commonly implies a sustained reduction in stages, especially of bulk, size, volume, or quantity, often from some imperceptible cause or inherent process: The swelling decreased daily. Diminish usually implies the action of some external cause that keeps taking away: Disease caused the number of troops to diminish steadily. Dwindle implies an undesirable reduction by degrees, resulting in attenuation: His followers dwindled to a mere handful. Shrink especially implies contraction through an inherent property under specific conditions: Many fabrics shrink in hot water.

Other words for decrease

Opposites for decrease

Other words from decrease

  • un·de·creased, adjective

Words Nearby decrease Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use decrease in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for decrease


  1. to diminish or cause to diminish in size, number, strength, etc

noun(ˈdiːkriːs, dɪˈkriːs)
  1. the act or process of diminishing; reduction

  2. the amount by which something has been diminished

Origin of decrease

C14: from Old French descreistre, from Latin dēcrescere to grow less, from de- + crescere to grow

Derived forms of decrease

  • decreasing, adjective
  • decreasingly, adverb

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