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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Recently, other teams have reported that several kinds of immune cells persist after infection even as antibodies diminish. Kate Baggaley, Popular Science, "COVID-19 immunity could be long term," 8 Jan. 2021 For a more youthful-looking glow, SK-II’s cocktail of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals work to combat dullness and diminish fine lines. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Why a Cleansing Oil Is the Secret to Glowing Skin This Winter," 2 Jan. 2021 No one is about to forget or diminish the bigger headlines from basketball’s intersection with a global health crisis. New York Times, "From Kobe to LeBron: Tragedy and Triumph in the N.B.A.," 30 Dec. 2020 Oil producers frequently write down assets when commodity prices crash, as cash flows from oil-and-gas properties diminish. Sarah Mcfarlane, WSJ, "2020 Was One of the Worst-Ever Years for Oil Write-Downs," 27 Dec. 2020 Overall, Gregory said, Clinton’s policies would amplify the power of the executive branch and diminish that of Congress, continuing the legacy of Obama’s presidency. Cheri Lucas Rowlands, Longreads, "Longreads Best of 2020: Investigative Reporting," 21 Dec. 2020 In reality, the council voted on a 2021 budget last week to reallocate some $8 million from the police department to other services but doesn't diminish the number of officers on the force expected for next year. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'It looks like a war zone:' Minneapolis developers shy away from city projects after unrest and calls to 'defund the police'," 16 Dec. 2020 James Conlon, an attorney representing the Fialas, said that exclusion of the Fialas' land from Ledges of Broadview would turn the Fialas' lot into a residential island, diminish their property value and count as a taking of land. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "Broadview Heights rejects townhome development, establishes moratorium on new subdivisions," 3 Nov. 2020 The painkillers did more than diminish her physical discomfort. Suzanne Hirt, USA Today, "Her husband beat her. Caseworkers ‘pushed her to the edge.’," 17 Dec. 2020

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for diminish

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Diminish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diminish. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for diminish


How to pronounce diminish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of diminish

: to become or to cause (something) to become less in size, importance, etc.
: to lessen the authority or reputation of (someone or something) : to describe (something) as having little value or importance


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
3 : to become gradually less or smaller The number of wild birds is diminishing.

Other Words from diminish

diminishment \ -​mənt \ noun

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