diminish

verb

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

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
diminishable adjective
diminishment 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 By Chad de Guzman April 3, 2024 1:45 AM EDT South Korea—the world’s poster child for demographic decline—has spent some $280 billion over the past 18 years to address its diminishing birth rate, which recently dropped to a new record-low of 0.72 babies per woman in a lifetime. Chad De Guzman, TIME, 3 Apr. 2024 Scattered showers could linger into the evening, then should diminish overnight. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2024 The carnival barker and the charismatic goof, the superfan and the mad accountant—these types belong to a sunset tale of diminishing power. Andrew O’Hagan, The New Yorker, 1 Apr. 2024 But more than 25% of Americans believe paying for long-term care will diminish their children's inheritance, a 2023 Nationwide Retirement Institute survey of 1,439 boomers, Gen Xers and millennials showed. Medora Lee, USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2024 Beshear — who won a convincing reelection victory last November over a McConnell protege — had already seen his influence over selecting a senator greatly diminished by GOP lawmakers. Fox News, 29 Mar. 2024 Washington’s use of violence and of sanctions has done little to dampen the strength of these groups or to diminish their power. Renad Mansour, Foreign Affairs, 26 Mar. 2024 These critics offer a wide range of objections, including faulting the production for failing to cast many MENA actors in speaking roles, as well as leveling objections to story choices that diminish MENA influences. Sharareh Drury, Variety, 26 Mar. 2024 Confidence: Medium-High A look ahead Rain is heavy at times on Saturday, especially in the morning, before slowly diminishing during the afternoon. David Streit, Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near diminish

Cite this Entry

“Diminish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diminish. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

diminish

verb
di·​min·​ish də-ˈmin-ish How to pronounce diminish (audio)
1
: to make less or cause to appear less
2
: to lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of : belittle
3
: to become gradually less (as in size or importance) : dwindle
diminishment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on diminish

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