Word of the Day : August 1, 2017


noun dim-uh-NOO-shun


: the act, process, or an instance of becoming gradually less (as in size or importance) : the act, process, or an instance of diminishing : decrease

Did You Know?

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.


After seeing a diminution in his restaurant's profits for the third quarter in a row, George reluctantly set about revising his business model.

"Of course, the overall diminution of the newspaper in size and circulation has led to savings in paper consumption." — David W. Dunlap, The New York Times, 2 June 2017

Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete an adjective that means "becoming less by gradual diminution" or "waning": d _ _ r _ s _ _ nt.



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!