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

First Known Use of diminishing returns

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about diminishing returns

Share diminishing returns

Statistics for diminishing returns

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for diminishing returns

The first known use of diminishing returns was in 1815

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on diminishing returns

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diminishing returns

Comments on diminishing returns

What made you want to look up diminishing returns? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

noxious or harmful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!