English Dictionary

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English Dictionary

decimate  (ˈdɛsɪˌmeɪt


verb (transitive)

  1. to destroy or kill a large proportion of   ⇒ a plague decimated the population
  2. (esp in the ancient Roman army) to kill every tenth man of (a mutinous section)
One talks about the whole of something being decimated, not a part: disease decimated the population, not disease decimated most of the population

Derived Forms

ˌdeciˈmation  noun
ˈdeciˌmator  noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin decimāre, from decimus tenth, from decem ten


View thesaurus entry
= destroy, devastate, wipe out, ravage, eradicate, annihilate, put paid to, lay waste, wreak havoc on
= reduce, diminish, decrease, weaken, lessen, wind down, downsize, kennet (Australian) (slang), jeff (Australian) (slang)

Translations for 'decimate'

  • British English: decimate To decimate something such as a group of people or animals means to destroy a very large number of them. VERBThe pollution could decimate the river's thriving population of kingfishers.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: dizimar
  • Chinese: 大量毁灭大量毁毀灭滅
  • European Spanish: diezmar
  • French: décimer
  • German: dezimieren
  • Italian: decimare
  • Japanese: 多くを殺す
  • Korean: 대량 학살하다
  • Portuguese: dizimar
  • Spanish: diezmar

Example Sentences Including 'decimate'

The Russians stalled the attack and proceeded to smash the Italian army and decimate the air transport fleet.
We are bringing up massed multiple rocket-launchers to decimate the enemy before the tanks move in.
Shah, Idries Kara Kush


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