reduce

verb re·duce \ ri-ˈdüs , -ˈdyüs \
Updated on: 25 Nov 2017

Definition of reduce

reduced; reducing
transitive verb
1 a : to draw together or cause to converge : consolidate
  • reduce all the questions to one
b (1) : to diminish in size, amount, extent, or number
  • reduce taxes
  • reduce the likelihood of war
(2) : to decrease the volume and concentrate the flavor of by boiling
  • add the wine and reduce the sauce for two minutes
c : to narrow down : restrict
  • the Indians were reduced to small reservations
d : to make shorter : abridge
2 archaic : to restore to righteousness : save
3 : to bring to a specified state or condition
  • the impact of the movie reduced them to tears
4 a : to force to capitulate
b : force, compel
5 a : to bring to a systematic form or character
  • reduce natural events to laws
b : to put down in written or printed form
  • reduce an agreement to writing
6 : to correct (a fracture) by bringing displaced or broken parts back into their normal positions
7 a : to lower in grade or rank : demote
b : to lower in condition or status : downgrade
8 a : to diminish in strength or density
b : to diminish in value
9 a (1) : to change the denominations or form of without changing the value
(2) : to construct a geometrical figure similar to but smaller than (a given figure)
b : to transpose from one form into another : convert
c : to change (an expression) to an equivalent but more fundamental expression
  • reduce a fraction
10 : to break down (as by crushing or grinding) : pulverize
11 a : to bring to the metallic state by removal of nonmetallic elements
  • reduce an ore by heat
b : deoxidize
c : to combine with or subject to the action of hydrogen
d (1) : to change (an element or ion) from a higher to a lower oxidation state
(2) : to add one or more electrons to (an atom or ion or molecule)
12 : to change (a stressed vowel) to an unstressed vowel
intransitive verb
1 a (1) : to become diminished or lessened; especially : to lose weight by dieting
(2) : to become reduced
  • ferric iron reduces to ferrous iron
b : to become concentrated or consolidated
c : to undergo meiosis
2 : to become converted or equated

reducer

noun

reducibility

play \ri-ˌdü-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē, -ˌdyü-\ noun

reducible

play \ri-ˈdü-sə-bəl, -ˈdyü-\ adjective

reducibly

play \ri-ˈdü-sə-blē\ adverb

Examples of reduce in a Sentence

  1. The medicine reduces the risk of infection.

  2. We are trying to reduce our debt.

  3. Stricter speed limit enforcement has reduced the number of car accidents.

  4. Her prison sentence was reduced from 15 years to 10.

Recent Examples of reduce from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reduce.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of reduce

Middle English, to lead back, from Latin reducere, from re- + ducere to lead — more at 1tow

reduce Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of reduce

decrease, lessen, diminish, reduce, abate, dwindle mean to grow or make less. decrease suggests a progressive decline in size, amount, numbers, or intensity.
    • slowly decreased the amount of pressure
lessen suggests a decline in amount rather than in number.
    • has been unable to lessen her debt
diminish emphasizes a perceptible loss and implies its subtraction from a total.
    • his visual acuity has diminished
reduce implies a bringing down or lowering.
    • you must reduce your caloric intake
abate implies a reducing of something excessive or oppressive in force or amount.
    • the storm abated
dwindle implies progressive lessening and is applied to things growing visibly smaller.
    • their provisions dwindled slowly
conquer, vanquish, defeat, subdue, reduce, overcome, overthrow mean to get the better of by force or strategy. conquer implies gaining mastery of.
    • Caesar conquered Gaul
vanquish implies a complete overpowering.
    • vanquished the enemy and ended the war
defeat does not imply the finality or completeness of vanquish which it otherwise equals.
    • the Confederates defeated the Union forces at Manassas
subdue implies a defeating and suppression.
    • subdued the native tribes after years of fighting
reduce implies a forcing to capitulate or surrender.
    • the city was reduced after a month-long siege
overcome suggests getting the better of with difficulty or after hard struggle.
    • overcame a host of bureaucratic roadblocks
overthrow stresses the bringing down or destruction of existing power.
    • violently overthrew the old regime


REDUCE Defined for English Language Learners

reduce

verb

Definition of reduce for English Language Learners

  • : to make (something) smaller in size, amount, number, etc.

  • : to cause (someone) to be in a specified state or condition

  • : to cause (something) to be in a specified form by breaking it, burning it, etc.


REDUCE Defined for Kids

reduce

verb re·duce \ ri-ˈdüs , -ˈdyüs \

Definition of reduce for Students

reduced; reducing
1 : to make smaller or less
  • reduce expenses
  • Reduce your speed ahead.
2 : to bring to a usually worse state
  • The story reduced them to tears.
3 : to lower in grade or rank
4 : to change to a simpler form
  • Reduce a fraction to its lowest terms.
5 : to lose weight by dieting

Medical Dictionary

reduce

verb re·duce \ ri-ˈd(y)üs \

medical Definition of reduce

reduced; reducing
transitive verb
1 : to correct (as a fracture or a herniated mass) by bringing displaced or broken parts back into their normal positions
2 a : to bring to the metallic state by removal of nonmetallic elements
  • reduce an ore by heat
b : deoxidize
c : to combine with or subject to the action of hydrogen
d (1) : to change (an element or ion) from a higher to a lower oxidation state
(2) : to add one or more electrons to (an atom or ion or molecule)
intransitive verb
1 : to become diminished or lessened; especially : to lose weight by dieting
2 : to become reduced
  • ferrous iron reduces to ferric iron
3 : to undergo meiosis

Law Dictionary

reduce

transitive verb re·duce \ ri-ˈdüs, -ˈdyüs \

legal Definition of reduce

reduced; reducing
1 : to make smaller
2 a : to convert (a chose in action) into a chose in possession
  • enforcement action sought to reduce to possession her property interest in the…determination of money damages
  • Haynes v. Contat, 643 N.E.2d 941 (1994)
b : to convert by enforcement through litigation
  • may reduce a claim to judgment, foreclose, or otherwise enforce the claim
  • Uniform Commercial Code

reducibility

play \-ˌdü-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē, -ˌdyü-\ noun

reducible

play \-ˈdü-sə-bəl, -ˈdyü-\ adjective

reducibly

adverb

reduction

play \ri-ˈdək-shən\ noun
reduce to practice
: to cause to undergo reduction to practice


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