Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

diminish

play
verb di·min·ish \də-ˈmi-nish\

Simple Definition of diminish

  • : to become or to cause (something) to become less in size, importance, etc.

  • : to lessen the authority or reputation of (someone or something) : to describe (something) as having little value or importance

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of diminish

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make less or cause to appear less <diminish an army's strength>

  3. 2 :  to lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of :  belittle <diminish a rival's accomplishments>

  4. 3 :  to cause to taper

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to become gradually less (as in size or importance) :  dwindle

  7. 2 :  taper

diminishable play \-ni-shə-bəl\ adjective
diminishment play \-mənt\ noun

Examples of diminish in a sentence

  1. The strength of the army was greatly diminished by outbreaks of disease.

  2. The drug's side effects should diminish over time.

  3. Nothing could diminish the importance of his contributions.



Origin of diminish

Middle English deminishen, alteration of diminuen, from Anglo-French diminuer, from Late Latin diminuere, alteration of Latin deminuere, from de- + minuere to lessen — more at minor


First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of diminish

decrease, lessen, diminish, reduce, abate, dwindle mean to grow or make less. decrease suggests a progressive decline in size, amount, numbers, or intensity <slowly decreased the amount of pressure>. lessen suggests a decline in amount rather than in number <has been unable to lessen her debt>. diminish emphasizes a perceptible loss and implies its subtraction from a total <his visual acuity has diminished>. reduce implies a bringing down or lowering <you must reduce your caloric intake>. abate implies a reducing of something excessive or oppressive in force or amount <the storm abated>. dwindle implies progressive lessening and is applied to things growing visibly smaller <their provisions dwindled slowly>.

Rhymes with diminish


DIMINISH Defined for Kids

diminish

play
verb di·min·ish \də-ˈmi-nish\

Definition of diminish for Students

diminisheddiminishing

  1. 1 :  to make less or cause to seem less <… he didn't want to diminish any chance he might have of being found. — Gary Paulsen, Hatchet>

  2. 2 :  belittle

  3. 3 :  to become gradually less or smaller <The number of wild birds is diminishing.>

diminishment \-mənt\ noun




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up diminish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to dishevel or rumple

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

reduce disapprove perplex soothe
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ