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diminishing returns

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noun
  1. any rate of profit, production, benefits, etc., that beyond a certain point fails to increase proportionately with added investment, effort, or skill.
  2. Also called law of diminishing returns. Economics. the fact, often stated as a law or principle, that when any factor of production, as labor, is increased while other factors, as capital and land, are held constant in amount, the output per unit of the variable factor will eventually diminish.
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Origin of diminishing returns

First recorded in 1805–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for diminishing returns

diminishing returns

pl n economics
  1. progressively smaller rises in output resulting from the increased application of a variable input, such as labour, to a fixed quantity, as of capital or land
  2. the increase in the average cost of production that may arise beyond a certain point as a result of increasing the overall scale of production
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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