Decimate definition

dĕsə-māt
(obs.) To select by lot and kill every tenth one of.
verb
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To select by lot and kill one in every ten of (a group of soldiers).
verb
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To inflict great destruction or damage on.

The storm decimated the region.

verb
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(obs.) To take a tenth part of; tithe.
verb
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To destroy or kill a large part of (a group of people or organisms).
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(Roman history) To kill one man chosen by lot out of every ten in a legion or other military group.
verb
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To reduce anything by one in ten, or ten percent.
verb
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(historical) To exact a tithe or tax of 10 percent.
verb
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To destroy or kill a large part of.

Famine decimated the population.

verb
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(computer graphics) To replace a high-resolution model with one of lower resolution but acceptably similar appearance.
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Decimate is defined as to destroy or kill a large part of something.

An example of decimate is for a natural disaster to kill a large portion of a population.

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To reduce markedly in amount.

A profligate heir who decimated his trust fund.

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To severely reduce; to destroy almost completely.
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To reduce to one-tenth.
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Origin of decimate

  • Latin decimāre decimāt- to punish every tenth person from decimus tenth from decem ten dekm̥ in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Latin decimare "to take the tenth (decimus) part of anything", in particular referring to the levying and payment of tithe and also the practice of capital punishment applied to one man at random (by lot) out of every ten in a legion; compare quintate.

    From Wiktionary