di·min·ish | \ də-ˈmi-nish \

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 \-ni-shə-bəl \ adjective
diminishment \-mənt \ 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

But there’ll come a point when the injuries return and Ansah’s effectiveness diminishes as a player. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions 2018 Most Important: No. 4 Ziggy Ansah's health is key," 14 July 2018 Early in the 20th century, many scientists believed background radiation levels on Earth diminished at higher altitudes. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Blazing a trail: UW professor's dream leads to breakthrough in identifying origin of cosmic rays," 12 July 2018 What cisatricarium doesn't do is diminish consciousness or dull pain. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "The Untested Drugs at the Heart of Nevada's Execution Controversy," 11 July 2018 For 10 days, Adul and his fellow Wild Boars soccer squad survived deep in the cave complex as their food, flashlights and drinking water diminished. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 The Heat’s inability to dump sizable contracts so far this summer not only has left Miami with little flexibility this year but also has diminished its chances of achieving cap space next summer. Barry Jackson, miamiherald, "Here's how and when the Heat can be a free agent player again, and what Miami is trying to do about it," 10 July 2018 For 10 days, Adul and his fellow Wild Boars soccer squad survived deep in the cave complex as their food, flashlights and drinking water diminished. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "Stateless and Poor, Some Boys in Thai Cave Had Already Beaten Long Odds," 10 July 2018 On July 1, the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers — teams flush with cash that had been rumored to have interest in Gordon — reached deals with other free agents, diminishing their cap flexibility. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Magic’s Aaron Gordon contract is more team-friendly than originally reported," 7 July 2018 But pass through the next few rooms, with progressively older classes, and both the number of pupils and the volume level steadily diminish. The Economist, "Universal lessons," 5 July 2018

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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Statistics for diminish

Last Updated

26 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for diminish

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

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More Definitions for diminish



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 \
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

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Comments on diminish

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characteristic trappings or dress

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