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These verbs mean to become smaller or less or to cause something to become smaller or less. Decrease and lessen have the most general application: saw the plane descend as its speed decreased; vowed to decrease government spending; an appetite that lessened as the disease progressed; restrictions aimed at lessening the environmental impact of off-road vehicles.
Reduce often emphasizes bringing down in size, degree, or intensity: reduced the heat once the mixture reached a boil; workers who refused to reduce their wage demands.
Dwindle suggests decreasing bit by bit to a vanishing point: savings that dwindled away in retirement.
Abate stresses a decrease in amount or intensity and suggests a reduction of excess: a blustery wind that abated toward evening; increased the dosage in an effort to abate the pain.
Diminish stresses the idea of loss or depletion: a breeze that arose as daylight diminished; a scandal that diminished the administration's authority.
Subside implies a falling away to a more normal level or state: floodwaters that did not subside until days after the storm passed; anger that subsided with understanding.
de•crease(v. dɪˈkris; n. ˈdi kris, dɪˈkris)
v. -creased, -creas•ing,
- Contract, like the pupil of an eye that confronts the sun —John Hall Wheelock
- (My avarice) cooled like lust in the chill of the grave —Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Decrease like a cigar: the harder you puff on it, the shorter it gets —Anon
The cigar has also been likened to an actor; e. g., “An actor decreases like a cigar; the more you puff him, the smaller he gets.”
See Also: STAGE AND SCREEN
- Decrease like a lemon drop; the more you lick it, the less it becomes —Anon
- Decrease like hair after each decade —Mike Sommer
- Devour [information] like baseball addicts devour box scores —David E. Sanger, New York Times, December 14, 1985
- Diminished and flat, as after radical surgery —Sylvia Plath
- (All my efforts) diminish like froth —Erich Maria Remarque
- Drain (as a day’s happenings) like water running out of a tub —Andre Dubus
- Energy … draining out like sand —May Sarton
- Gobble up cash the way electronic equipment gobbles up batteries —Anon
- Goes down like an ebbing tide —Henry James
James let the hero of his play, Guy Domville, use the ebbing tide comparison to explain the nature of his ignorance.
- Go through [as bottle of pills] like a bull breaks a fence —Anon
- Pared like a carrot —John Russell
This is often used to mean humiliation.
- (The conversation was already) petering out like a smoldering cigarette end —Stefan Zweig
- Receding like a threatened headache which hasn’t materialized —William Mcllvanney
- Shrinking as violets do in summer —Thomas Moore
The original ended with “As violets do in summer’s rays.”
- Shrinking like aches —Charles Wright
- Shrivel up like the tendrils of a creeper when thrown on a bonfire —Francis King
- Shrunken as a beggar’s heart —Stephen Vincent Benét
- Use up as fast as a ten dollar bill in the supermarket —Anon
- Use up, like a cake of soap —Elyse Sommer
- Wore off [feeling of self-confidence] quicker than champagne —Edith Wharton
Past participle: decreased
|Noun||1.||decrease - a change downward; "there was a decrease in his temperature as the fever subsided"; "there was a sharp drop-off in sales"|
alteration, change, modification - an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another; "the change was intended to increase sales"; "this storm is certainly a change for the worse"; "the neighborhood had undergone few modifications since his last visit years ago"
shrinkage, shrinking - process or result of becoming less or smaller; "the material lost 2 inches per yard in shrinkage"
casualty - a decrease of military personnel or equipment
sinking - a slow fall or decline (as for lack of strength); "after several hours of sinking an unexpected rally rescued the market"; "he could not control the sinking of his legs"
attrition - a wearing down to weaken or destroy; "a war of attrition"
dwindling, dwindling away - a becoming gradually less; "there is no greater sadness that the dwindling away of a family"
waning - a gradual decrease in magnitude or extent; "the waning of his enthusiasm was obvious"; "the waxing and waning of the moon"
increase - a change resulting in an increase; "the increase is scheduled for next month"
|2.||decrease - a process of becoming smaller or shorter|
physical process, process - a sustained phenomenon or one marked by gradual changes through a series of states; "events now in process"; "the process of calcification begins later for boys than for girls"
desensitisation, desensitization - the process of reducing sensitivity; "the patient was desensitized to the allergen"
narrowing - a decrease in width
slippage - a decrease of transmitted power in a mechanical system caused by slipping
wastage - the process of wasting
|3.||decrease - the amount by which something decreases|
amount - the relative magnitude of something with reference to a criterion; "an adequate amount of food for four people"
free fall, drop, dip, fall - a sudden sharp decrease in some quantity; "a drop of 57 points on the Dow Jones index"; "there was a drop in pressure in the pulmonary artery"; "a dip in prices"; "when that became known the price of their stock went into free fall"
shrinkage - the amount by which something shrinks
|4.||decrease - the act of decreasing or reducing something|
change of magnitude - the act of changing the amount or size of something
cut - the act of reducing the amount or number; "the mayor proposed extensive cuts in the city budget"
mitigation, moderation - the action of lessening in severity or intensity; "the object being control or moderation of economic depressions"
lowering - the act of causing to become less
cutback - a reduction in quantity or rate
devaluation - the reduction of something's value or worth
mitigation, palliation, extenuation - to act in such a way as to cause an offense to seem less serious
alleviation, easement, easing, relief - the act of reducing something unpleasant (as pain or annoyance); "he asked the nurse for relief from the constant pain"
de-escalation - (war) a reduction in intensity (of a crisis or a war)
minimisation, minimization - the act of reducing something to the least possible amount or degree or position
depletion - the act of decreasing something markedly
shortening - act of decreasing in length; "the dress needs shortening"
shrinking - the act of becoming less
subtraction, deduction - the act of subtracting (removing a part from the whole); "he complained about the subtraction of money from their paychecks"
deflation - the act of letting the air out of something
rollback - reducing prices back to some earlier level
weakening - the act of reducing the strength of something
depreciation - a decrease in price or value; "depreciation of the dollar against the yen"
contraction - the act of decreasing (something) in size or volume or quantity or scope
reverse split, reverse stock split, split down - a decrease in the number of outstanding shares of a corporation without changing the shareholders' equity
amortisation, amortization - the reduction of the value of an asset by prorating its cost over a period of years
declassification - reduction or removal by the government of restrictions on a classified document or weapon
tax shelter, shelter - a way of organizing business to reduce the taxes it must pay on current earnings
tax credit - a direct reduction in tax liability (not dependent on the taxpayer's tax bracket)
|Verb||1.||decrease - decrease in size, extent, or range; "The amount of homework decreased towards the end of the semester"; "The cabin pressure fell dramatically"; "her weight fell to under a hundred pounds"; "his voice fell to a whisper"|
break - diminish or discontinue abruptly; "The patient's fever broke last night"
shrivel, shrink - decrease in size, range, or extent; "His earnings shrank"; "My courage shrivelled when I saw the task before me"
taper - diminish gradually; "Interested tapered off"
drop off - fall or diminish; "The number of students in this course dropped off after the first test"
vaporize, vanish, fly - decrease rapidly and disappear; "the money vanished in las Vegas"; "all my stock assets have vaporized"
break - fall sharply; "stock prices broke"
change magnitude - change in size or magnitude
weaken - become weaker; "The prisoner's resistance weakened after seven days"
boil down, decoct, concentrate, reduce - be cooked until very little liquid is left; "The sauce should reduce to one cup"
shrink, shrivel, shrivel up, wither - wither, as with a loss of moisture; "The fruit dried and shriveled"
die away, let up, slack off, abate, slack - become less in amount or intensity; "The storm abated"; "The rain let up after a few hours"
deflate - become deflated or flaccid, as by losing air; "The balloons deflated"
remit - diminish or abate; "The pain finally remitted"
de-escalate - diminish in size, scope, or intensity; "The war of words between them de-escalated with time"
shorten - become short or shorter; "In winter, the days shorten"
thin out - become sparser; "Towards the end of town, the houses thinned out"
wane - decrease in phase; "the moon is waning"
wane - become smaller; "Interest in his novels waned"
decelerate, slow, slow down, slow up, retard - lose velocity; move more slowly; "The car decelerated"
decrescendo - grow quieter; "The music decrescendoes here"
increase - become bigger or greater in amount; "The amount of work increased"
|2.||decrease - make smaller; "He decreased his staff"|
alter, change, modify - cause to change; make different; cause a transformation; "The advent of the automobile may have altered the growth pattern of the city"; "The discussion has changed my thinking about the issue"
suppress - reduce the incidence or severity of or stop; "suppress a yawn"; "this drug can suppress the hemorrhage"
mitigate - make less severe or harsh; "mitigating circumstances"
boil down, concentrate, reduce - cook until very little liquid is left; "The cook reduced the sauce by boiling it for a long time"
shrink, reduce - reduce in size; reduce physically; "Hot water will shrink the sweater"; "Can you shrink this image?"
abbreviate, abridge, foreshorten, shorten, contract, reduce, cut - reduce in scope while retaining essential elements; "The manuscript must be shortened"
de-escalate, step down, weaken - reduce the level or intensity or size or scope of; "de-escalate a crisis"
cut down, reduce, trim back, trim down, cut, cut back, trim, bring down - cut down on; make a reduction in; "reduce your daily fat intake"; "The employer wants to cut back health benefits"
cut - have a reducing effect; "This cuts into my earnings"
slack up, slacken, slack, relax - make less active or fast; "He slackened his pace as he got tired"; "Don't relax your efforts now"
diminish, belittle - lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of; "don't belittle your colleagues"
increase - make bigger or more; "The boss finally increased her salary"; "The university increased the number of students it admitted"
reduce extend, enlarge lessen increase, expand
a decrease in speed/strength → una reducción de velocidad/fuerza
a decrease of 50% → una reducción del 50%
to be on the decrease → ir disminuyendo
a decrease in unemployment → une baisse du chômage
a decrease in the number of unemployed people → une diminution du nombre de chômeurs
to be on the decrease → diminuer, être en diminution
decrease[n ˈdiːkriːs; vb diːˈkriːs]
to be on the decrease → essere in diminuzione