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

Johnson argues such a measure would diminish his negotiating power with EU officials. Christina Prignano, BostonGlobe.com, "The most dramatic moments from the Brexit controversy this week, explained," 4 Sep. 2019 And now his lung capacity has been diminished by 25%. Dean Reynolds, CBS News, "Milwaukee officials urge residents to stop vaping immediately," 29 Aug. 2019 At 65-years-of age, and with his sight diminished by glaucoma, the blues singer has a chance for taking the glory on America’s Got Talent Season 14. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Robert Finley Performs Soulful Original 'Starting to See' on 'AGT': Watch," 21 Aug. 2019 Come August 31st, the Mahoning Valley – and Ohio as a whole – will be diminished by the loss of The Vindicator. Phillip Morris, cleveland.com, "The watchdog of the Mahoning Valley is about to die: Phillip Morris," 3 July 2019 The rule’s already-slim CO2 benefits are further diminished by the Trump administration’s choice to consider only domestic greenhouse gas emissions and not the global benefits of avoiding climate change. Jean Chemnick, Scientific American, "How the Numbers on the EPA’s New Climate Rule Stack Up," 21 June 2019 But his latest attacks come as Republicans increasingly worry about losing the House in the upcoming midterms, an outcome that would diminish Trump’s power to enact his agenda. Elise Viebeck, The Seattle Times, "With ‘Horseface,’ Trump initiates another personal attack on a female adversary," 16 Oct. 2018 Shower coverage diminishes overnight under mostly cloudy and lows in the upper 60s to lower 70s. Brian Jackson, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Still splendid on Sunday but warmer and more humid into the workweek," 25 Aug. 2019 That, more than location, is diminishing the effectiveness of his change-up. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres notes: Paddack will pitch more this season so he can pitch more next season," 24 Aug. 2019

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 2019

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 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
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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More from Merriam-Webster on diminish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with diminish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for diminish

Spanish Central: Translation of diminish

Nglish: Translation of diminish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of diminish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on diminish

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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