verb (used with object)

to make or cause to seem smaller, less, less important, etc.; lessen; reduce.
Architecture. to give (a column) a form tapering inward from bottom to top.
Music. to make (an interval) smaller by a chromatic half step than the corresponding perfect or minor interval.
to detract from the authority, honor, stature, or reputation of; disparage.

verb (used without object)

to lessen; decrease.

Origin of diminish

1400–50; late Middle English; blend of diminuen (< Anglo-French diminuer < Medieval Latin dīminuere for Latin dēminuere to make smaller) and minishen minish
Related formsdi·min·ish·a·ble, adjectivedi·min·ish·ment, nounnon·di·min·ish·ing, adjectivepre·di·min·ish, verb (used with object)pre·di·min·ish·ment, nounun·di·min·ish·a·ble, adjectiveun·di·min·ish·a·ble·ness, nounun·di·min·ish·a·bly, adverbun·di·min·ished, adjectiveun·di·min·ish·ing, adjective

Synonym study

5. See decrease.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for diminishment

Contemporary Examples of diminishment

  • Chekhov has talked about this, that any designation besides writer (Russian writer, whatever) was a diminishment.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Ron Rash: How I Write

    Noah Charney

    February 27, 2013

  • Does that increasing skill set make up for the diminishment of a rags-to-riches mythology?

    The Daily Beast logo
    American Idol at a Crossroads

    Richard Rushfield

    January 11, 2010

Historical Examples of diminishment

  • For an instant there was no diminishment of the pace; then the horses head came down, and Jacks feet again touched earth.

    Weatherby's Inning

    Ralph Henry Barbour

  • Its population suffered some diminishment in the next two years in spite of its position on the main highway of trade.

    A Man for the Ages

    Irving Bacheller

  • Although the light was decreasing, I could perceive no diminishment in the apparent speed of the sun.

    The House on the Borderland

    William Hope Hodgson

  • Not that this diminishment of her handwriting in any sense lessened the effect upon me of the sentiments it conveyed.

    Memoirs of a Midget

    Walter de la Mare

British Dictionary definitions for diminishment



to make or become smaller, fewer, or less
(tr) architect to cause (a column, etc) to taper
(tr) music to decrease (a minor or perfect interval) by a semitone
to belittle or be belittled; reduce in authority, status, etc; depreciate
Derived Formsdiminishable, adjectivediminishingly, adverbdiminishment, noun

Word Origin for diminish

C15: blend of diminuen to lessen (from Latin dēminuere to make smaller, from minuere to reduce) + archaic minish to lessen
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 diminishment



early 15c., from merger of two obsolete verbs, diminue and minish. Diminue is from Old French diminuer "make small," from Latin diminuere "break into small pieces," variant of deminuere "lessen, diminish," from de- "completely" + minuere "make small" (see minus).

Minish is from Old French menuisier, from Latin minuere. Related: Diminished; diminishes; diminishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper