diminution

noun
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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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 A morning of diminished spirits; diminution of appetite, loud repeated gorking on the good rugs, eating of grass, eyes at half-mast, lying inert in the backyard. James Lileks, Star Tribune, 6 June 2021 But the biggest factor may well be the diminution of influence and interference from the mayor’s longtime nemesis, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has largely been sidelined by a series of scandals. New York Times, 15 Apr. 2021 Is your view that that won't happen, that there will be no diminution in corporate activity, or is your view? CBS News, 2 May 2021 What has changed over the past year has been a diminution of regulatory risk. Paul Vigna, WSJ, 14 Apr. 2021 Racial caste in the United States makes all people of color vulnerable to assaults, diminution and violence at the hands of white supremacy. Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2021 Hope seemed like too much to hope for after these four years of destruction and diminution. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Jan. 2021 If Iran's intentions are benevolent, agreeing to let Israel and Saudi Arabia participate, even indirectly (as, for example, Israel negotiates with Gaza via Egypt), could be a step toward an eventual diminution of the conflict. Zev Chafets, Star Tribune, 14 Jan. 2021 The idea is to increase the level of our commitments in terms of the diminution of our greenhouse gas emissions from minus 40% to minus 55% [from 1990 levels] by 2030. Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2020

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 "to lessen" — more at 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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Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Diminution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diminution. Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for diminution

diminution

noun

English Language Learners Definition of diminution

formal : the act or process of becoming less

diminution

noun
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

More from Merriam-Webster on diminution

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for diminution

Britannica English: Translation of diminution for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diminution

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