What does decimate mean?

Definitions for decimate
ˈdɛs əˌmeɪtdec·i·mate

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word decimate.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. decimateverb

    kill one in every ten, as of mutineers in Roman armies

  2. eliminate, annihilate, extinguish, eradicate, wipe out, decimate, carry offverb

    kill in large numbers

    "the plague wiped out an entire population"


  1. decimateverb

    To kill one man chosen by lot out of every ten in a legion or other military group.

  2. decimateverb

    To reduce anything by one in ten, or ten percent.

  3. decimateverb

    To exact a tithe, or tax of 10 percent.

  4. decimateverb

    To reduce to one-tenth.

  5. decimateverb

    To severely reduce; to destroy almost completely.

  6. decimateverb

    To replace a high-resolution model with one of lower resolution but acceptably similar appearance.

  7. Etymology: From Latin decimare "to take the tenth (decimus) part of anything", in particular referring to the levying and payment of tithe and also the practice of capital punishment applied to one man at random (by lot) out of every ten in a legion; compare quintate.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To DECIMATEverb

    To tithe; to take the tenth.

    Etymology: decimus, Latin.


  1. decimate

    Decimate generally means to kill, destroy, or remove a large portion or percentage of something. It can be used to describe significant damage, destruction, or loss.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Decimateverb

    to take the tenth part of; to tithe

  2. Decimateverb

    to select by lot and punish with death every tenth man of; as, to decimate a regiment as a punishment for mutiny

  3. Decimateverb

    to destroy a considerable part of; as, to decimate an army in battle; to decimate a people by disease

  4. Etymology: [L. decimatus, p. p. of decimare to decimate (in senses 1 & 2), fr. decimus tenth. See Decimal.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Decimate

    des′i-māt, v.t. to take the tenth part of: to put to death every tenth man.—ns. Decimā′tion, a military punishment, by which every tenth man was selected by lot and put to death or otherwise punished; Dec′imator. [L. decimāre, -ātumdecimus, tenth.]

Matched Categories

How to pronounce decimate?

How to say decimate in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of decimate in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of decimate in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of decimate in a Sentence

  1. Nancy Northup:

    If this oppressive law takes effect, it will decimate abortion access in Texas -- and that's exactly what it is designed to do, the state has put a bounty on the head of any person or entity who so much as gives a patient money for an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, before most people know they are pregnant. Worse, it will intimidate loved ones from providing support for fear of being sued.

  2. Gregory Conley:

    As proposed, the FDA’s regulation would decimate nearly every single small and medium-sized business in this market, thousands of businesses would close overnight. And nearly the entire e-cigarette market would become either big tobacco or firms that are backed heavily by Wall Street money.

  3. Tom Slunecka:

    We have got about a month and a half where we can play with this thing and then after that, these prices have to be corrected, so we urge the administration to do what it has to do and do it quickly, if we get into harvest with prices like they are, it will decimate much of farm country.

  4. David Letterman:

    I really had great admiration for the fact that she was able to just walk into that room and decimate the place.

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Translations for decimate

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"decimate." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Nov. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/decimate>.

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    one of four connected cavities in the brain; is continuous with the central canal of the spinal cord and contains cerebrospinal fluid
    • A. urus
    • B. ventricle
    • C. viverrine
    • D. preponderance

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