Is it wrong to use 'decimate' to mean 'destroy'?

Language changes


play decimate-video
85,473 views
Featuring: Kory Stamper
Many people object to the use of decimate to mean destroy, pointing out that the word originally meant "to reduce by one-tenth." But this is incorrect: almost every word we use today has moved away from its root meaning. If you object to decimate, you should also make sure that literal is only used to mean “of, relating to, or expressed in letters," and that's literally ridiculous.

Comments

Up Next

Autoplay
play serial-comma
The Serial Comma

 

187,933 views

play hot-mess
Hot Mess

 

127,804 views

play mrs-malaprop
Malaprop

 

72,206 views

play alright-allright-video
Alright vs. All Right

 

100,685 views

play sneaked-vs-snuck-video
Sneaked vs. Snuck

 

41,706 views

play further-vs-farther-video
Further vs. Farther

 

30,799 views

play bring-vs-take-video
Bring vs. Take

 

21,056 views

play video-lay-vs-lie
Lay vs. Lie

 

297,387 views

play fun-funner-funnest
Fun, Funner, Funnest

 

238,819 views

play video-old-school-grammar-humorsome
Old-School Grammar

 

231,975 views

play video-schwa
Schwa

 

135,700 views

play video-cynic
Cynic

 

28,170 views

play video-that-vs-which
That vs. Which

 

248,844 views

play video-ie-vs-eg
i.e. vs. e.g.

 

108,568 views

play video-its-vs-its
Its vs. It's

 

63,955 views

play video-moose-goose-weird-plurals
Weird Plurals

 

227,043 views

play video-between-you-and-i-or-me
I vs. Me

 

47,874 views

play video-defenesetration
Defenestration

 

75,933 views

play video-literally
Literally

 

322,136 views

play video-irregardless-grammar-peeve-blend-of-the-synonyms-irrespective-and-regardless
Irregardless

 

694,369 views

play video-okay
Okay?

 

200,220 views

play video-a-vs-an
A vs. An

 

22,019 views

play video-soup-vs-soop
Soop vs. Soup

 

60,093 views

play video-ghost-words
Ghost Word

 

79,710 views

play video-hopefully
Hopefully

 

81,509 views

play video-who-vs-whom
Who vs. Whom

 

59,784 views

play video-gridiron
Gridiron

 

15,317 views

play video-christmas-vs-xmas
Christmas vs. Xmas

 

65,271 views

play video-resuscitate-stricken-icon-condolences-rip-and-other-words-that-spiked-when-michael-jackson-died
Michael Jackson

 

25,665 views

play video-affect-vs-effect
Affect vs. Effect

 

52,798 views