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
But starting in the second half of 2023, the growth in electric sales decreased significantly, forcing manufacturers to scale back their ambitions. Neal E. Boudette, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2024 Precipitation chances should decrease this evening. Haadiza Ogwude, The Enquirer, 4 Apr. 2024 And when this work involves working independently, the lack of a stable social environment can decrease one’s sense of belonging and identity. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 3 Apr. 2024 Outside of setting rules, encouraging farmers to take up practices that protect soil health can decrease nitrogen leaching. Laura Schulte, Journal Sentinel, 3 Apr. 2024 Militarization decreased the status of women’s labor, and unlike the complementary gender structures that developed in Native North America, patriarchy was the basis of power in Western Europe, from the pope and kings to lords and priests, down to husbands within households. Kathleen Duval, The Atlantic, 2 Apr. 2024 Low blood sugar can decrease quality of life and be harmful. Barbie Cervoni, Health, 2 Apr. 2024 In fact, labeling them as gifted may actually decrease their odds of success. Mary C. Murphy, TIME, 2 Apr. 2024 Over the last 50 years, African elephant populations have decreased by at least 60% due to compounding threats, including poaching and habitat loss, according to Humane Society International. Leah Sarnoff, ABC News, 1 Apr. 2024
Speaking of emissions, the EIA predicts a tiny decrease in overall U.S. emissions, from all energy sources, of 0.4% this year compared to 2023 and a 3% decrease compared to 2022. The Arizona Republic, 5 Apr. 2024 The downward curve represents the most significant year-over-year decrease for Black entrepreneurs in ten years. Ebony Flake, Essence, 4 Apr. 2024 The Economist finds while looking at ticket sales across 24 states that for every 10% decrease in median household income, there’s a correlated 4% hike in lottery spending. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 4 Apr. 2024 In remarks at a conference for federal grantees, Garland pointed to statistics showing that last year, the U.S. saw the largest one-year decline in homicides in half a century, including a 13% decrease last year in Chicago. Alexander Mallin, ABC News, 3 Apr. 2024 The study authors found a decrease in GGOs by 12 months and that 78% of people still had GGOs showing up on lung scans.6 Both studies showed the people had other respiratory issues in addition to GGOs. Leah Groth, Health, 30 Mar. 2024 Like many others, the school has seen a 30% decrease in enrollment from the 2019-2020 school year, when the COVID-19 pandemic upended school life. Molly Gibbs, The Mercury News, 27 Mar. 2024 At the same time, the bulk of respondents highlighted a corresponding decrease in operating costs. Steve McDowell, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 The largest decrease was in construction, with 9,600 jobs lost — a reflection of disruptions from a series of strong storms that hit the state in February. Adam Beam, Quartz, 22 Mar. 2024

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 13 Apr. 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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