Decimate Definition

decimated, decimates, decimating
decimated, decimates, decimating
To destroy or kill a large part of.
Famine decimated the population.
Webster's New World
To inflict great destruction or damage on.
The storm decimated the region.
American Heritage
To select by lot and kill every tenth one of.
Webster's New World
To take a tenth part of; tithe.
Webster's New World
To reduce markedly in amount.
A profligate heir who decimated his trust fund.
American Heritage

Origin of Decimate

  • 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

  • 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

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