dim·i·nu·tion | \ˌdi-mə-ˈnü-shən 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

But a similar study, by Lazar Treschan at the Community Service Society, which included a minimum academic standard applicants must achieve, found no such diminution. New York Times, "Asian Groups See Bias in Plan to Diversify New York’s Elite Schools," 5 June 2018 Hochschild blames Trump for a diminution of the United States' stature in the world. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Pomfret School Alumni Share Thoughts On Trump, Putin, Jinping," 21 May 2018 Many analysts agreed that the U.S. withdrawal from the Transpacific Partnership led to a diminution of broader U.S. foreign policy influence. Jonathan D. Moyer, Washington Post, "Why Trump’s tariffs could weaken U.S. influence in the world," 12 Mar. 2018 These days, the bank is fighting to maintain an edge that has been blunted by the diminution of its core trading business. Emily Flitter And Kate Kelly, New York Times, "What’s $27 Billion to Wall Street? An Alarming Drop in Revenue," 11 Jan. 2018 Using foreign rules is a diminution of that standard. Matt Ford, New Republic, "Should Foreign Countries Be Allowed to Snoop on Data on American Soil?," 9 Feb. 2018 Aches and pains, medications that reduce libido, a diminution of hormones that mean friction is tougher on our naughty bits and of course the occasional urge to cover all the mirrors in the house: Aging ain’t pretty, Hennezel admits. Judith Newman, New York Times, "Guides for Better Living From Around the World," 23 Jan. 2018 The far more probable scenario is a diminution of U.S. influence in the region that would allow unification to proceed on terms acceptable to China. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "How the U.S. Can Trade Places With North Korea," 11 Aug. 2017 Shortly after he was confirmed to lead the State Department, Rex Tillerson was tasked with overseeing its diminution. James Baker, vanityfair.com, "Is Rex Tillerson Destroying the State Department in Order to Save It?," 20 Aug. 2017

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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Statistics for diminution

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for diminution

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

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More Definitions for diminution



English Language Learners Definition of diminution

: the act or process of becoming less


dim·i·nu·tion | \ˌdi-mə-ˈnü-shən, -ˈnyü- \

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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Comments on diminution

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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