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 written evidence for diminution going back to the 14th century, including use in Geoffrey Chaucer's Middle English poetical work Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucer used "maken dyminucion" ("make diminution") in contrast to the verb "encrece" ("increase"). Diminution came to English by way of Anglo-French from Latin. Its Latin ancestor deminuere ("to diminish") is also an ancestor of the English verb diminish, which entered the language in the 15th century, and the related 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 So might a suit about construction defects, harm to property or diminution in its value. Robert W. Wood, Forbes, 18 July 2022 The diminution of trust in the American political system has come during a moment of vast retrenchment of local news outlets. New York Times, 13 July 2022 Granted that the race was closer and Biden won the popular vote by about 4.5 points, but a diminution of the Democratic vote is hard to ignore. NBC News, 1 May 2022 Maybe there’s more to the later poetry than a finger-wagging sort of disenchantment, a diminution, unbelievable little rhetorical engines. Alan Jacobs, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 Their ascension signaled a diminution in the power of political parties. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 9 Mar. 2022 This is the first time such diminution has occurred since the Oscars ceremony had its initial television transmission in 1953. Paul Grein, Billboard, 24 Feb. 2022 All of this translates into fewer resources pouring into the Russian space program and a further diminution of its activities. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 25 Feb. 2022 This change is largely symbolic, the statistics show, rather than some seismic shift tied to the impact of inexpensive Asian imports and a concurrent diminution of U.S. manufacturing. Ken Roberts, Forbes, 28 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

22 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Diminution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diminution. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for diminution


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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Britannica English: Translation of diminution for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diminution


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