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decrease

[ verb dih-krees; noun dee-krees, dih-krees ]
/ verb dɪˈkris; noun ˈdi kris, dɪˈkris /
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verb (used without object), de·creased, de·creas·ing.

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.

to make less; cause to diminish: to decrease one's work load.

noun

the act or process of decreasing; condition of being decreased; gradual reduction: a decrease in sales; a decrease in intensity.
the amount by which a thing is lessened: The decrease in sales was almost 20 percent.

SYNONYMS FOR decrease

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

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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

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 FROM decrease

un·de·creased, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does decrease mean?

To decrease is to lessen or become reduced in number, amount, size, or in some other way, as in Our profits will continue to decrease unless we cut costs.

As a verb, decrease is also used in an active way in which someone or something is doing the decreasing, as in I’m going to decrease my hours at work or These sunglasses decrease glare. The word reduce is perhaps even more commonly used to mean the same thing.

Decrease can also be used as a noun referring to a reduction, as in We are experiencing a decrease in applicants.

It can also refer to the amount by which something has decreased, as in The decrease was $5,000 per year.

The words decreased and decreasing can both be used as adjectives, as in a decreased appetite or decreasing sales.

The opposite of decrease as both a verb and a noun is increase.

Example: Sally decided to decrease her workload, which led to a decrease in stress.

Where does decrease come from?

The first records of the word decrease come from the 1300s. It comes from the Latin verb dēcrēscere, from de-, which indicates negation, descent, or reversal, and the Latin verb crēscere, meaning “to grow.”

Something that is decreasing is doing the opposite of growing—it’s becoming smaller in size, quantity, extent, or in some other way. As a noun, decrease indicates the opposite of growth.

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What are some other forms related to decrease?

  • decreased (past tense verb, adjective)
  • decreasing (continuous tense verb, adjective)

What are some synonyms for decrease?

What are some words that share a root or word element with decrease

What are some words that often get used in discussing decrease?

How is decrease used in real life?

Decrease is an extremely common word that can be used in all kinds of contexts.

Try using decrease!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of decrease?

A. lessen
B. dwindle
C. enlarge
D. decline

Example sentences from the Web for decrease

British Dictionary definitions for decrease

decrease

verb (dɪˈkriːs)

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

noun (ˈdiːkriːs, dɪˈkriːs)

the act or process of diminishing; reduction
the amount by which something has been diminished

Derived forms of decrease

decreasing, 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
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