English Thesaurus

Synonyms of 'decimate'

(verb) 
Definition
to destroy or kill a large proportion of
Pollution could decimate the river's population of kingfishers.
Synonyms
destroy
The building was completely destroyed.
,
devastate
A fire devastated large parts of the castle.
,
wipe out
,
ravage
The soldiers had ravaged the village.
,
eradicate
battling to eradicate illnesses such as malaria and tetanus
,
annihilate
The army was annihilated.
,
put paid to
,
lay waste
,
wreak havoc on
(verb) 
The recession decimated the nation's manufacturing industry.
Synonyms
reduce
Consumption is being reduced by 25 per cent.
,
diminish
Federalism is intended to diminish the power of the central state.
,
decrease
The medication is said to decrease the risk of heart attack.
,
weaken
Her opponents believe that her authority has been fatally weakened.
,
lessen
Keep immunisations up to date to lessen the risk of serious illness.
,
wind down
The storm was winding down at long last.
,
downsize
,
kennet (Australian, slang)
,
jeff (Australian, slang)

Usage note

This word, which comes from Latin, originally referred to the slaughtering of one in ten soldiers, a practice of the army of Ancient Rome. In current language, however, the meaning of the word has broadened and it is now used not only to describe the destruction of people and animals, but also of institutions: overseas visitors will stay away in droves, decimating the tourist industry. Synonyms such as destroy (for people and animals) and reduce (for institutions) are appropriate alternatives.

Additional synonyms

in the sense of annihilate
Definition
to destroy (a place or a group of people) completely
The army was annihilated.
Synonyms
wipe out,
root out,
extirpate (archaic),
wipe from the face of the earth,
kennet (Australian, slang),
jeff (Australian, slang)
in the sense of decrease
Definition
to make or become less in size, strength, or quantity
The medication is said to decrease the risk of heart attack.
Synonyms
cut,
turn down,
slow down,
cut down,
tone down,
downsize
in the sense of devastate
Definition
to damage (a place) severely or destroy it
A fire devastated large parts of the castle.
Synonyms
trash (slang),
total (slang),
lay waste,
despoil (formal)

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English Definition of "decimate"
English Definition of "decimate"
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Video: pronunciation of 'decimate'

Source

Thesaurus for decimate from the Collins English Thesaurus
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