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 But, especially in a year when touring wasn’t a viable income stream, collaborative hits also seemed like savvier business strategies in the streaming era of diminishing returns. New York Times, "One Big Pop Star + One Big Pop Star = an Easier Path to No. 1," 22 Dec. 2020 Any potential for diminishing returns, however, doesn’t appear to have slowed the outpouring of donations to the GOP effort. Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times, "GOP holds big money advantage in Georgia Senate runoff races," 9 Dec. 2020 The 2014 second-rounder will turn 30 in December and is showing diminishing returns as a pending free agent. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, "Adam Thielen, Ryan Kerrigan included in Arizona Cardinals' NFL trade deadline speculation," 3 Nov. 2020 Herman is now 30-18 overall and 21-13 in league play since his debut in 2017 with increasingly diminishing returns since a 10-4 finish in 2018, which was viewed in some corners as the beginning of the program's return to national prominence. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "College football winners and losers from Week 13: Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas," 28 Nov. 2020 These efforts were not so much a failure as a familiar Trumpian plan executed with diminishing returns. David Roth, The New Republic, "The Littlest Prince," 17 Nov. 2020 The 2014 second-rounder will turn 30 in December and is showing diminishing returns as a pending free agent. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, "Adam Thielen, Ryan Kerrigan included in Arizona Cardinals' NFL trade deadline speculation," 3 Nov. 2020 The network has faced diminishing returns from its live musicals, which started with a huge audience for The Sound of Music in 2013. Hilary Lewis, Billboard, "Matthew Morrison to Star in 'Grinch' Musical on NBC," 10 Nov. 2020 Although Democratic candidates for the council managed to bring in $256,158 to Republicans' $48,936, Cann said campaign spending tends to have diminishing returns over time. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Salt Lake County election results show the limits of campaign spending," 4 Nov. 2020

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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Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Diminishing returns.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diminishing%20returns. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on diminishing returns

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diminishing returns

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