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tr.v. dec·i·mat·ed, dec·i·mat·ing, dec·i·mates
1. To destroy or kill a large part of (a group of people or organisms).
2. Usage Problem
a. To inflict great destruction or damage on: The storm decimated the region.
b. To reduce markedly in amount: a profligate heir who decimated his trust fund.
3. To select by lot and kill one in every ten of (a group of soldiers).

[Latin decimāre, decimāt-, to punish every tenth person, from decimus, tenth, from decem, ten; see dekm̥ in Indo-European roots.]

dec′i·ma′tion n.
Usage Note: Decimate originally referred to the killing of every tenth person, a punishment used in the Roman army for mutinous legions. Today this meaning is commonly extended to include the killing of any large proportion of a population. In our 2005 survey, 81 percent of the Usage Panel accepts this extension in the sentence The Jewish population of Germany was decimated by the war, even though it is common knowledge that the number of Jews killed was much greater than a tenth of the original population. This is an increase from the 66 percent who accepted this sentence in our 1988 survey. However, the Panel is less accepting of usages that extend the meaning to include large-scale destruction other than killing, as in The supply of fresh produce was decimated by the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. Some 36 percent accepted this sentence in 2005, up from 26 percent in 1988, but still a decided minority.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.decimation - destroying or killing a large part of the population (literally every tenth person as chosen by lot)
destruction, devastation - the termination of something by causing so much damage to it that it cannot be repaired or no longer exists
قَتْل عَدَد كَبيرٍ من
stórfellt mannfall


[ˌdesɪˈmeɪʃən] N (lit, fig) → aniquilación f


[ˌdɛsɪˈmeɪʃən] n
(= destruction) [forests, animals, people] → destruction f
(= massive reduction) [system, organization] → décimation f


(ˈdesimeit) verb
(of disease, battle etc) to reduce greatly in number. The population was decimated by the plague.
ˌdeciˈmation noun


n. gran mortalidad, diezma.
References in periodicals archive ?
Khartoum, 16 Juillet (SUNA) - le Conseil national a appele l'Organisation des Nations Unies (OUN) a faire son role pour la protection des citoyens civils palestiniens et l'application des principes du droit international, qui empechent la decimation collectif et fournit une vie securitaire et decente pour les citoyens.
According to the report, Obama said that the move was being taken due to a number of factors that included pushing for a more calibrated use of drone strikes, decimation of "high value" targets in the tribal areas and a strong "pushback" from the Pakistani public and government who saw the drone strikes as a violation of their sovereignty.
What I would like to ask your columnist is what was on offer to the miners - was it an invitation to Downing Street to meet Margaret Thatcher to have tea and biscuits or to have told the truth of the decimation of the deep mining industry in Wales that even today mining villages in the South Wales Valley have not recovered from?
AS MERSEYSIDERS look forward to the re-opening of a world-class Central Library and prepare to welcome authors and poets to our city for the launch of a literary festiva i l late this month, let's not allow ourselves to be distracted from this council's ongoing plans for the decimation of our neighbourhood libraries.
Two of the best songs were written by herself - Don't Cut Me Down, about the decimation of the rain forests, and Not Gonna Give In To It, about her courageous fight to beat cancer.
In single channel mode, DDC decimation can be programmed to 8x, 16x or 32x.
GMB national officer Brian Strutton said: "Plainly this Government has engineered the most savage decimation of public services ever seen.
Come on, North Tyneside councillors, get your act together and stop this Arriva takeover and decimation to our buses and our social activities.
FOLLOWING Rory McIlroy's decimation of the field at the USPGA, he's now as short as 1/6 to win more than the 6 majors that Nick Faldo won in his career, while it's 9/1 for him to better the record 18 majors that Jack Nicklaus amassed during his illustrious time on the greens.
What is it with the decimation of trees in The Meadows?
I SEE Tories are rallying round health secretary Andrew Lansley to support his decimation of the NHS.