diminishing returns

plural noun

Definition of diminishing returns

1 : a rate of yield that beyond a certain point fails to increase in proportion to additional investments of labor or capital
2 : benefits that beyond a certain point fail to increase in proportion to extended efforts

Examples of diminishing returns in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

For most of the 20th century, economists believed labor and capital would claim relatively constant shares of output because an overdependence on either would yield diminishing returns. Paul Kiernan, WSJ, "Despite Tight Job Market, Labor Force’s Income Is Squeezed," 23 Feb. 2019 Sony has seen firsthand the effect of diminishing returns on Spider-Man, with the disappointment of Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, and implemented a change in installing Holland as its new web-slinger. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Venom, Spider-Man’s symbiote supervillain, explained," 3 Oct. 2018 The first and most obvious is that the iPhone has become boring, trapped by the diminishing returns Apple can wring out of the device year after year. Nick Statt, The Verge, "The Apple Watch stole the show from this year’s new iPhones," 15 Sep. 2018 As much as returning to Cleveland was a desire of his, James was also leaving a professional environment in Miami that hinted at diminishing returns. Alex Wong, The Atlantic, "What’s Different About LeBron’s Move to the Lakers," 4 July 2018 My mother cooked through the book with consistently diminishing returns. Mayukh Sen, Bon Appetit, "In Search of Fatima Lakhani, Whose Cookbook Changed the Way My Family Ate," 27 June 2018 Since animals which have evolved to hunt in the daytime may see diminishing returns when the lights are out, shifting their schedules can result in reduced fitness, reproduction levels and even survival rates. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Fear of Humans Is Forcing Daytime Animals Into Night Mode," 14 June 2018 That time might also be valuable for Lucasfilm and Disney to find a way to counter the diminishing returns of its multi-billion-dollar franchise. CBS News, "“Solo: A Star Wars Story” falls short with $83.3M at box office," 27 May 2018 Returning to more familiar terrain, the show remains amusing, while delivering what feels like diminishing returns. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Arrested Development' returns with more dysfunctional fun," 22 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'diminishing returns.' 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 diminishing returns

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of diminishing returns was in 1815

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