[verb dih-krees; noun dee-krees, dih-krees]
See more synonyms for decrease 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

1350–1400; Middle English decres (noun), decresen (v.) < Old French decreiss-, long stem of decreistre < Latin dēcrēscere (dē- de- + crēscere to grow); see crescent
Related formsun·de·creased, adjective

Synonyms for decrease

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1. wane, lessen, fall off, decline, contract, abate. 3. abatement, decline, subsidence, shrinking, dwindling, ebbing.

Synonym study

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.

Antonyms for decrease Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for decrease

Contemporary Examples of decrease

Historical Examples of decrease

  • The slow time passed, and there was no decrease of the fire.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • Business will increase largely, and the ratio of expenses will decrease.

    The Railroad Question

    William Larrabee

  • This will not decrease his opinion of your sagacity and firmness.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • In my heart I did not believe that Cullingworth had taken alarm at so trifling a decrease.

  • This construction is used to decrease the weight of the battery.

British Dictionary definitions for decrease


verb (dɪˈkriːs)
  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
Derived Formsdecreasing, adjectivedecreasingly, adverb

Word Origin for decrease

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

late 14c., from Anglo-French decreiss-, present participle stem of decreistre, Old French descroistre (12c., Modern French décroître), from Latin decrescere "to grow less, diminish," from de- "away from" (see de-) + crescere "to grow" (see crescent). Related: Decreased; decreasing.


late 14c., "detriment, harm;" early 15c. as "a becoming less or smaller," from Anglo-French decres; see decrease (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper