HOME > LOOK UP & LEARN

V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



decimate

verb

Definition: 1. to reduce drastically or destroy a large portion of; 2. to inflict such damage as to virtually destroy

Synonyms: annihilate, exterminate, destroy, devastate, eliminate, extinguish, eradicate, wipe out

Antonyms: save, preserve, create

Tips: Decimate is derived from the Latin decimare, meaning "to take a tenth." The archaic meaning of decimate was "to kill one in every ten men as selected by lot." This strategy was sometimes used against mutinous soldiers. The modern meaning of decimate is effectively the reverse of the original meaning. Rather than killing a tenth, decimate now usually refers to the destruction of a larger portion or majority of a group or population. There is some debate over the change in decimate's meaning among scholars, but most agree to its modern usage. In business discussions, decimate is used to describe enormous financial loss.

Usage Examples:

Rapid industrialization can decimate native animal populations unless consideration is given to the preservation of at least some natural habitat areas. (extinguish, destroy, reduce)

Nuclear warfare can decimate an entire population in an instant. (annihilate)

The collapse of the corporation decimated the savings of many company employees who held large amounts of the company’s stock. (wiped out, eliminated)

The Asian financial crisis decimated sales for many international companies. (destroyed, eliminated)


Want to Learn More Words Like decimate?
Discover How You Can Improve Your
Vocabulary 10 to 100 Times Faster with
the Power Vocabulary Builder

Dear Friend,

The definition and lessons for the word decimate were made available by the Power Vocabulary Builder.

The Power Vocabulary Builder will help you develop a fuller, richer vocabulary 10 to 100 times faster than any other program available.

Visit the the Power Vocabulary Builder site right now to discover how you can get full access to this breakthrough program today!

What's your vocabulary level?
Power Vocabulary Builder
FREE E-mail Course!

Drop your details in the boxes below to receive a FREE vocabulary course: