dim·​i·​nu·​tion ˌdi-mə-ˈnü-shən How to pronounce diminution (audio)
 also  -ˈnyü-
: 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 This could include healthcare needs and medical monitoring, property restoration and diminution, and compensation for any net business loss. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, 25 June 2024 Nope — those three sanctimonious defenders of our democracy are all down with the deep-state’s diminution of our democracy. Voice Of The People, New York Daily News, 24 June 2024 Meanwhile, from Washington's vantage point, this new geopolitical context is also marked by a significant diminution of Russia's relevance to key U.S. interests. Leon Aron, Foreign Affairs, 8 Mar. 2013 He was released early in 2022 after earning diminution credits. Hannah Gaskill, Baltimore Sun, 16 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for diminution 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'diminution.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English diminucioun, from Anglo-French diminutiun, from Medieval Latin diminution-, diminutio, alteration of Latin deminution-, deminutio, from deminuere "to lessen" — more at diminish

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near diminution

Cite this Entry

“Diminution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diminution. Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


dim·​i·​nu·​tion ˌdim-ə-ˈn(y)ü-shən How to pronounce diminution (audio)
: the act, process, or an instance of diminishing : decrease

Legal Definition


dim·​i·​nu·​tion ˌdi-mə-ˈnü-shən, -ˈnyü- How to pronounce diminution (audio)
: the act, process, or an instance of making less
diminution of access to health careU.S. Code

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