dim·​i·​nu·​tion | \ ˌdi-mə-ˈnü-shən How to pronounce diminution (audio) also -ˈnyü- \

Definition of diminution

: the act, process, or an instance of becoming gradually less (as in size or importance) : the act, process, or an instance of diminishing : decrease a diminution in value

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Did You Know?

We find "diminution" in print for the first time in Geoffrey Chaucer's poetical work "Troilus and Criseyde." Chaucer used "make diminution" in contrast to the verb "increase" (he could have used the verb "decrease," but he needed to create a weak rhyme with "discretion"). "Diminution" came to English by way of Anglo-French from Latin. Its Latin ancestor deminuere ("to diminish") is also an ancestor of "diminishment," a synonym of "diminution" that English speakers have been using since the 16th century.

Examples of diminution in a Sentence

a diminution of 60 percent over the course of the month
Recent Examples on the Web The diminution of humanity starts with seemingly innocuous portrayals of people as stereotypical depictions and can end in death, as the same value afforded to White lives is not extended to Black lives. Richard J. Reddick For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "American companies wouldn't have as many racist logos if C-Suites were more diverse," 20 June 2020 The president perceives any suggestion of Russian interference as the diminution of his own legitimacy. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The 2016 Election Was Just a Dry Run," 11 May 2020 That one line is the dividing line between growth of the virus and a decrease of it, or diminution of it, in terms of incidents. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "When Will It Be Safe to End Coronavirus Lockdowns?," 8 May 2020 However, such voluntary co-operation should not be mistaken for a surrender or diminution of the plenary power to administer justice which is inherent in every court whose jurisdiction derives from the Ohio Constitution. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County judges mull Budish’s request to cut millions from court budgets amid coronavirus crisis," 24 Apr. 2020 Still, France’s trade unions see any diminution of benefits as the thin end of the wedge. The Economist, "No surrender Emmanuel Macron should not give in to the strikers paralysing Paris," 11 Jan. 2020 Kirk Jamison, Centennial Erosion in our society Erosion is a process of destruction or diminution of something. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: If you can’t impeach …; Erosion in our society; No need to know whistle-blower; Fans are victims of greed; more responses (11/15/19)," 15 Nov. 2019 The 13 least populous states would suffer the largest diminution of their weight in presidential politics. George F. Will, The Mercury News, "Will: Democrats may change their minds about the National Popular Vote," 29 Aug. 2019 The 13 least populous states would suffer the largest diminution of their weight in presidential politics. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: Democrats may change their malleable minds about the National Popular Vote," 29 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'diminution.' 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 diminution

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for diminution

Middle English diminucioun, from Anglo-French diminutiun, from Medieval Latin diminution-, diminutio, alteration of Latin deminution-, deminutio, from deminuere — see diminish

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Time Traveler for diminution

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The first known use of diminution was in the 14th century

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Statistics for diminution

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Diminution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diminution. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for diminution


How to pronounce diminution (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of diminution

formal : the act or process of becoming less


dim·​i·​nu·​tion | \ ˌdi-mə-ˈnü-shən, -ˈnyü- How to pronounce diminution (audio) \

Legal Definition of diminution

: the act, process, or an instance of making less diminution of access to health careU.S. Code

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More from Merriam-Webster on diminution

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for diminution

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with diminution

Britannica English: Translation of diminution for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diminution

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