becoming less or fewer; diminishing.
Mathematics. (of a function) having the property that for any two points in the domain such that one is larger than the other, the image of the larger point is less than or equal to the image of the smaller point; nonincreasing.Compare increasing(def 2).

Origin of decreasing

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at decrease, -ing2
Related formsde·creas·ing·ly, adverbun·de·creas·ing, adjectiveun·de·creas·ing·ly, adverb


[verb dih-krees; noun dee-krees, dih-krees]

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.


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.

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

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for decreasing

Contemporary Examples of decreasing

Historical Examples of decreasing

  • And up she went and down she went, shortening and lengthening, swelling and decreasing.

    Dr. Sevier

    George W. Cable

  • Well, you are about to get better, my dear child; the fever is decreasing, and your head freer.

    Luttrell Of Arran

    Charles James Lever

  • At the times of both of these eclipses the solar activity was decreasing.

    The Story of Eclipses

    George Chambers

  • On the other hand the percentage of women able to nurse their children is decreasing.

  • These waters were fished so destructively that many of the fish were found to be decreasing.

    Conservation Reader

    Harold W. Fairbanks

British Dictionary definitions for decreasing


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 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 decreasing



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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper