de·​crease | \ di-ˈkrēs How to pronounce decrease (audio) , ˈdē-ˌkrēs How to pronounce decrease (audio) \
decreased; decreasing

Definition of decrease

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


de·​crease | \ ˈdē-ˌkrēs How to pronounce decrease (audio) , di-ˈkrēs How to pronounce decrease (audio) \

Definition of decrease (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from decrease


decreasingly \ di-​ˈkrē-​siŋ-​lē How to pronounce decrease (audio) , dē-​ \ adverb

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This frictional force will push up the incline and decrease the net force down the incline. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How to Win a Hot Wheels Derby on a Moving Treadmill," 29 Apr. 2021 Also, will having stopped work decrease my benefit? Laurence Kotlikoff, Forbes, "Ask Larry: Will My Social Security Retirement Benefit Still Increase If I Stopped Working?," 27 Apr. 2021 The Citizens Budget Commission, an independent budget watchdog, said the city should set up annual savings programs for city agencies and decrease the size of the city’s current workforce. Katie Honan, WSJ, "New York City to Increase Spending as Tax Revenue Improves," 26 Apr. 2021 Proposals, for example, to expand healthcare coverage and decrease prescription drug prices through the measure were reportedly scrapped in favor of separate legislative efforts. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "What's in Biden's latest trillion-dollar spending package," 25 Apr. 2021 Companies of all kinds are increasingly turning to unmanned flying devices to cut costs, increase efficiency, decrease workload or simply do what humans cannot. Bernd Debusmann Jr. Washington Post, Star Tribune, "Fitness drones are coming, if all the bugs get fixed," 22 Apr. 2021 While the underlying cause of blemishes and cystic acne is bacteria, a dose of chill can help relieve pain and decrease inflammation by constricting the blood vessels. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The Best Skin Secret? Try Putting Ice on Your Face (Yes, Really)," 22 Apr. 2021 All of those decrease the amount of lead you are exposed to. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee's chronic problem with lead: Dr. Veneshia McKinney-Whitson explains what parents can do to keep kids safe," 21 Apr. 2021 As vaccinations increase and coronavirus cases decrease (though there have been increases in some parts of the country), conversations about a return to the office and possibilities for life after the pandemic have started. Victoria Uwumarogie, Essence, "How To Raise Well-Adjusted Children Born During The Pandemic And Prepare Them For Life After It," 21 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Queiroga told reporters this week that the decrease in hospitalizations has eased demand for oxygen and sedatives for intubation., "Brazil backs away from the virus brink as deaths top 400,000," 30 Apr. 2021 Safran confirmed its outlook for 2021, which includes an organic decrease in adjusted revenue in the low single digits. Olivia Bugault, WSJ, "Safran Backs 2021 View After 1Q Revenue Drop," 30 Apr. 2021 Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Florida, and Cleveland are the only cities included in the study that showed a decrease in the number of hate crimes from the first quarter of last year to this year. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Hate crimes against Asians up 169% in first quarter of 2021," 29 Apr. 2021 Backers of the closure say any potential bump up in New York natural gas generation needs to be considered in context of a decrease in fossil fuel generation since 2016, as well as progress in renewables and energy efficiency. Michael Hill, Star Tribune, "Gone Fission: Controversial nuke plant near NYC shuts down," 29 Apr. 2021 Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Department reported a 6.8 percent decrease in I.B.’s overall crime rate. San Diego Union-Tribune, "State of City address: Imperial Beach highlights public safety as priorty," 29 Apr. 2021 Over the last week, California has reported an average of 1,782 new coronavirus cases per day — a 42% decrease from two weeks ago, according to data compiled by The Times. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "Johnson & Johnson vaccine shipments to California resume as COVID cases keep falling," 29 Apr. 2021 The decrease in news coverage for the town council meetings can be countered somewhat by televising the Sykesville Town Meetings which might improve communication., "Sykesville election: Candidates for mayor, council answer questions," 29 Apr. 2021 Facebook also warns that customers who opt out of tracking will be excluded from specific targetable audiences, which will result in a decrease in audience sizes. Chris Smith, BGR, "Facebook just confirmed how badly its iPhone privacy nightmare will hurt," 29 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decrease.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of decrease


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for decrease

Verb and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for decrease

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for decrease

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decrease.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for decrease



English Language Learners Definition of decrease

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to become smaller in size, amount, number, etc.
: to make (something) smaller in size, amount, number, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of decrease (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of becoming smaller or of making something smaller in size, amount, number, etc.
: the amount by which something is made smaller


de·​crease | \ di-ˈkrēs How to pronounce decrease (audio) \
decreased; decreasing

Kids Definition of decrease

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to grow less or cause to grow less The numbers of students decreased.


de·​crease | \ ˈdē-ˌkrēs How to pronounce decrease (audio) \

Kids Definition of decrease (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the process of growing less a gradual decrease in interest
2 : the amount by which something grows less The school saw a five percent decrease in students.

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