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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

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

di·min·ish·able play \-ni-shə-bəl\ adjective
di·min·ish·ment play \-mənt\ noun

Examples of diminish

  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

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).


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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