1 of 2


decreased; decreasing

intransitive verb

: to grow progressively less (as in size, amount, number, or intensity)
Yearly sales decreased by five percent.
His little remaining strength had been decreasing rapidly for two or three days preceding …Charles Dickens

transitive verb

: to cause to decrease
decrease the risk of heart disease
trying to decrease our use of fossil fuels
decreasingly adverb


2 of 2


: the process of growing progressively less (as in size, amount, number, or intensity) : the process of decreasing
a decrease in productivity
: an amount of diminution : reduction
a decrease of 20,000
saw a 20% decrease in violent crime
Choose the Right Synonym for decrease

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

Examples of decrease in a Sentence

Verb Sales decreased by five percent this year. The driver decreased her speed as she approached the curve. These changes will decrease our expenses. Noun Studies report a recent decrease in traffic accidents. Because of the injury, some decrease in mobility is to be expected. a decrease of three dollars
Recent Examples on the Web
By curbing the production of JAKs, JAK inhibitors decrease the number of cytokines. Anna Giorgi, Verywell Health, 11 July 2024 As life expectancies increase and fertility rates decrease, the world’s population will grow older. Denise Chow, NBC News, 11 July 2024
The decreases are listed by regular, midgrade, premium, and diesel gas. Marina Johnson, The Indianapolis Star, 12 July 2024 Scientists have proposed a number of causes for this phenomenon, including changes to the El Niño oscillation and decreases in the amount of heat being exported into the ocean surface. Ned Kleiner, Los Angeles Times, 12 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for decrease 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'decrease.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English decreessen, from Anglo-French decrestre, from Latin decrescere, from de- + crescere to grow — more at crescent

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of decrease was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near decrease

Cite this Entry

“Decrease.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
decreased; decreasing
: to make or become smaller
decrease speed
decrease 6 by 2


2 of 2 noun
: a process of decreasing
a decrease in accidents
: the amount by which a thing decreases
a decrease of three dollars

More from Merriam-Webster on decrease

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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