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

Attention and coordination are diminished even in people who are resting. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Why the trapped Thai soccer team is in increasing trouble: they’re running out of oxygen," 6 July 2018 The rest of the players are diminished in his presence. Rory Smith, New York Times, "How Argentina Lost Its Way. (Spoiler: It’s Not Messi’s Fault.)," 22 June 2018 Trump administration officials declined to comment on these and other suggestions that the role of science in policymaking has been diminished in the Trump era. Coral Davenport, The Seattle Times, "In Trump White House, science is unwelcome and so is advice," 9 June 2018 In no way does this diminish your laudable efforts, Kim. Michael Harriot, The Root, "A Thank-You Letter to Kim Kardashian for Proving White Privilege Is Real," 7 June 2018 Slot values for this year’s draft run from north of $8 million at the top of the first round to $917,000 at the bottom of the second and diminish in subsequent rounds. Chris Johnson, SI.com, "Kyler Murray's Baseball and Football Careers Converge for an Intriguing Summer at Oklahoma," 1 June 2018 Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: crappie – have really diminished in last week. Tyler Mahoney, kansascity, "Fishing report: Prospects for area waters, plus tips on finding fishing Facebook groups," 30 May 2018 On the other side of that coin is the quality of that seed also being diminished in response to CO2. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "As CO2 Levels Rise, Rice Becomes Less Nutritious," 24 May 2018 Mitchell had reason to have confidence both enhanced and diminished in the lead-up to the opener. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "2018 season preview: Indiana Fever makeover starts with rookie Kelsey Mitchell," 18 May 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

12 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

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


the setting in which something occurs

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