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

Language changes


play decimate-video
131,060 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

 

214,660 views

play hot-mess
Hot Mess

 

131,964 views

play mrs-malaprop
Malaprop

 

74,592 views

play alright-allright-video
Alright vs. All Right

 

104,304 views

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

 

42,745 views

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

 

32,044 views

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

 

21,813 views

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

 

299,536 views

play fun-funner-funnest
Fun, Funner, Funnest

 

240,106 views

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

 

232,310 views

play video-schwa
Schwa

 

136,287 views

play video-cynic
Cynic

 

28,450 views

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

 

251,233 views

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

 

116,484 views

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

 

64,516 views

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

 

231,842 views

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

 

48,293 views

play video-defenesetration
Defenestration

 

76,282 views

play video-literally
Literally

 

322,742 views

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

 

708,264 views

play video-okay
Okay?

 

201,243 views

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

 

22,448 views

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

 

60,622 views

play video-ghost-words
Ghost Word

 

80,102 views

play video-hopefully
Hopefully

 

81,661 views

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

 

60,324 views

play video-gridiron
Gridiron

 

15,552 views

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

 

66,868 views

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

 

25,879 views

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

 

56,189 views