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

Example Sentences

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
In other words, the more variable the beat-to-beat timing is at rest, the easier time the body has changing the rate overall, and the more readily the ANS can increase or decrease one’s heart rate in response to stress. IEEE Spectrum, 17 May 2023 The other 11 lottery squads have their own sets of four-number combinations that could result in a lottery victory, though the number of combinations given to each team decreases in reverse order of the league standings. Michael Shapiro, Chron, 17 May 2023 Research and development expenses decreased by 10% to RMB428 million ($62.4 million), reflecting lower personnel costs. Patrick Frater, Variety, 16 May 2023 The secretary also revealed that immigrant encounters at the border have decreased by nearly 50% since the policy's end. Julia Johnson, Washington Examiner, 15 May 2023 Plainridge Park Casino’s handle decreased by 30 percent month to month. Michael Silverman,, 15 May 2023 Although the annual number of days with tornadoes has decreased in the past 50 years, the number of tornadoes has remained consistent overall. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 13 May 2023 First listed in August 2021 for nearly $6 million, the home was relisted in October 2022 at the same price before it was decreased to $4.95 million last month. Alex Groth, Journal Sentinel, 9 May 2023 Prices begin to decrease outside of the Phoenix area. Arizona Republic, 4 May 2023
Looking more broadly, Europe only accounted for a 19.3% share of global clinical trials activity in 2020, a decrease of 6.3%, compared with the 25.6% average over the last 10 years. Paul Hudson, Fortune, 17 May 2023 Less oxygen leads to a decrease in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that controls your mood and is responsible for happiness. Amelia Arvesen, Women's Health, 17 May 2023 The drop over the past couple of months has been largely fueled by decreases in eggs – which had previously risen dramatically over a short period of time – as well as meats, fruits and vegetables and dairy products. Leada Gore |, al, 16 May 2023 This year’s decrease, the sharpest drop ever recorded, clearly had a lot to do with the pandemic, which kept kids isolated, cut off from friends and immersed in social media. Jocelyn Gecker, Anchorage Daily News, 14 May 2023 Lovell and Mayor Ted Wheeler were united on the narrative that cutting out the traffic division was due to staffing decreases and funding concerns. Eden Villalovas, Washington Examiner, 9 May 2023 These genetic changes included a decrease in the thickness of muscular thick filaments, which may help explain why astronauts lose muscle mass in space. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, 8 May 2023 The declines in average eighth-grade civics scores fell by a smaller margin of two points – on a scale from zero to 300 – since 2018, but the decrease marked the first decline in civics test scores since testing began over two decades ago, the data show. Laura Ly, CNN, 4 May 2023 What To Watch For Though investors are largely rooting for a decrease in interest rates to stimulate growth, any cut to the federal funds rate is unlikely to come soon, according to Gargi Chaudhuri, head of investment strategy at BlackRock’s iShares ETF division. Derek Saul, Forbes, 3 May 2023 See More

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 31 May. 2023.

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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