di·​min·​ish | \ də-ˈmi-nish How to pronounce diminish (audio) \
diminished; diminishing; diminishes

Definition of diminish

transitive verb

1 : to make less or cause to appear less diminish an army's strength His role in the company was diminished.
2 : to lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of : belittle diminish a rival's accomplishments
3 architecture : to cause to taper (see taper entry 1 sense 1) a diminished column

intransitive verb

1 : to become gradually less (as in size or importance) : dwindle the side effects tend to diminish over time
2 architecture : taper

Other Words from diminish

diminishable \ də-​ˈmi-​ni-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce diminish (audio) \ adjective
diminishment \ də-​ˈmi-​nish-​mənt How to pronounce diminish (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for diminish

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 diminish in a Sentence

The strength of the army was greatly diminished by outbreaks of disease. The drug's side effects should diminish over time. Nothing could diminish the importance of his contributions.
Recent Examples on the Web Wild rose, revered in Eastern medicine for improving circulation and calming the spirit, serves to balance the skin and diminish the look of pores. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 May 2022 So full-stack writing may mean smaller courses, which could diminish the attractive economics of most undergraduate programs. Ryan Craig, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Iranian families have seen their purchasing power rapidly diminish. Ben Evansky, Fox News, 12 May 2022 Yet there are many in the Warhol world — both Warhol scholars and his personal acquaintances — who diminish or simply ignore his queerness in a public fashion. Tyler Coates, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 May 2022 When some women get compliments — even when fully deserved — some can't help but diminish the kind words. Ysolt Usigan, Woman's Day, 9 May 2022 Base price is $7300 higher than last year, off-road tires diminish lateral grip and worsen stopping distance, enough with the piano black interior trim already. Dan Edmunds, Car and Driver, 9 May 2022 Early-day storms may persist and intensify through Thursday morning, then diminish and redevelop in the afternoon from Texas through Arkansas, with extreme winds and a few tornadoes possible. Judson Jones, CNN, 5 May 2022 The documents, submitted to the FAA in February, said explosions, heat plumes, blast overpressure, falling debris, noise and other issues could diminish the habitat and its animal populations. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 5 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of diminish

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for diminish

Middle English deminishen, alteration of diminuen, from Anglo-French diminuer, from Late Latin diminuere, alteration of Latin deminuere, from de- + minuere to lessen — more at minor

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Time Traveler for diminish

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The first known use of diminish was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Diminish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diminish. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for diminish


di·​min·​ish | \ də-ˈmi-nish How to pronounce diminish (audio) \
diminished; diminishing

Kids Definition of diminish

1 : to make less or cause to seem less … he didn't want to diminish any chance he might have of being found.— Gary Paulsen, Hatchet
2 : belittle
3 : to become gradually less or smaller The number of wild birds is diminishing.

Other Words from diminish

diminishment \ -​mənt \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on diminish

Nglish: Translation of diminish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of diminish for Arabic Speakers


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