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February 18, 2009

Word of the Day

  • diminution
  • audio pronunciation
  • \dim-uh-NOO-shun\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: the act, process, or an instance of diminishing : decrease
  • EXAMPLES

After seeing a diminution in his restaurant’s profits for the third quarter in a row, George reluctantly set about revising his business model.

  • DID YOU KNOW?

We find "diminution" in print for the first time in Geoffrey Chaucer's poetical work "Troilus and Criseyde." Chaucer used "make diminution" in contrast to the verb "increase" (he could have used the verb "decrease," but he needed to create a weak rhyme with "discretion"). "Diminution" came to English by way of Anglo-French from Latin. Its Latin ancestor "deminuere" ("to diminish") is also an ancestor of "diminishment," a synonym of "diminution" that English speakers have been using since the 16th century.

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