dec·​re·​ment | \ ˈde-krə-mənt How to pronounce decrement (audio) \

Definition of decrement

1 : a gradual decrease in quality or quantity
2a : the quantity lost by diminution or waste
b : the amount of decrease (as of a variable)

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Other Words from decrement

decremental \ ˌde-​krə-​ˈmen-​tᵊl How to pronounce decrement (audio) \ adjective

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Even if you've never seen "decrement" before, you might be familiar with "increment," a word for the action or process of increasing or for something that is gained or added. "Increment" arrived in English, after a rather circuitous route involving Anglo-French, from the Latin verb increscere, meaning "to increase." So it should come as no surprise that decrement derives from the Latin verb decrescere, meaning "to decrease." Both words can be traced further back to the verb "crescere," which means "to grow." Like "increment," "decrement" can also have the (much rarer) mathematical sense of "a change in the value of one or more of a set of variables," but "increment" is used for both positive and negative changes, and "decrement" only for negative ones.

Examples of decrement in a Sentence

each decrement in amount is limited to one third of the previous total
Recent Examples on the Web Faced with out-of-bounds readings for the radar’s hardware, each CDU began to issue radar increment and decrement interrupts to the guidance computer—lots of interrupts. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, 5 July 2019 Although the marijuana brownies caused significant decrements in participants’ attentiveness, physical coordination and ability to concentrate, only 11 percent of them ever had a THC blood level over the legal limit. Keith Humphreys, The Cannabist, 31 May 2017

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

First Known Use of decrement

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for decrement

Latin decrementum, from decrescere

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The first known use of decrement was in 1610

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Cite this Entry

“Decrement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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