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

Well, not good things for those that are in the immediate area of the fire obviously, but further out, the answer is that there is very little, if any impact save for the diminution of light. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Hilling potatoes, flowering lettuce, and other reader questions," 4 July 2019 This diminution of news might be a way for Facebook to walk away from the public sphere—or, at least, appear to walk away—at a time when it has been taken to task for its overweening influence there. Eric Klinenberg, The New York Review of Books, "Sue Halpern," 18 Apr. 2019 There are very few people who have experienced this kind of early success in one field who would willingly submit to the demands and diminutions of advancement in a second. Thomas Chatterton Williams, New York Times, "Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It?," 27 June 2018 The past 70 years has seen the increasing diminution of the country’s standing in the global order. Neel Mukherjee, WSJ, "‘The Last Englishmen’ Review: India, Everest and Empire," 23 Aug. 2018 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

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

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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

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with diminution

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for diminution

Britannica English: Translation of diminution for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diminution

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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