The storm decimated the region.
Famine decimated the population.
An example of decimate is for a natural disaster to kill a large portion of a population.
A profligate heir who decimated his trust fund.
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