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 diminishable (audio) \ adjective
diminishment \ də-​ˈmi-​nish-​mənt How to pronounce diminishment (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 If an effective treatment could be found that prevents severe disease — or, even better, provides a cure — the urgent need to vaccinate millions of healthy people would diminish. Karen Mulligan, STAT, "Yes, we need a vaccine to control Covid-19. But we need new treatments, too," 5 Aug. 2020 But some Wisconsin business owners worry the policy could diminish tourism, dealing yet another blow to the struggling economy. Genevieve Redsten, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'This has been the year of worry': Wisconsin tourism businesses are concerned with Chicago's new travel restrictions," 1 Aug. 2020 In one post, Heartland attempts to diminish people’s role in causing global warming. Scott Waldman, Scientific American, "Climate Denial Spreads on Facebook as Scientists Face Restrictions," 6 July 2020 The only way to diminish police violence is to reduce contact between the public and the police. Isabel Cristo, The New Republic, "Policing Doesn’t Protect Women," 6 July 2020 Hand hygiene can also help diminish the spread of the virus. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, "Want a coronavirus test? Anyone can get one now, state says. Here's how.," 12 June 2020 By Friday, the agents in the plane had started wearing special goggles to diminish the effects of a laser. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Feds charge Milwaukee man with pointing laser at FBI, National Guard aircraft flying over protests," 8 June 2020 China and Russia are using the fallout from the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer to try to diminish the appeal of democracy. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "China and Russia use George Floyd unrest to make case against democracy," 3 June 2020 The bright skies in Alaska, however, will likely diminish any view of it. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Bright nighttime skies will make it difficult to see rare comet from Alaska," 13 July 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

10 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Diminish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diminish. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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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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