(Roman history) To kill one man chosen by lot out of every ten in a legion or other military group.
* ; from volume 1 of an 1835 edition of his works):
* 1989 , Basil Davidson, The Ancient World and Africa,'' in ''Egypt Revisited, edited by Ivan Van Sertima ([http://print.google.com/print?hl=en&id=IwEZ3-QtsDEC&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&sig=CXM6Xb5lVuNuDNE7iYDzggSPgg4]):
- God sometimes decimates or tithes delinquent persons, and they died for a common crime, according as God hath cast their lot in the decrees of predestination.
* 1998 , Adrian Goldsworthy, The Roman Army at War ([http://print.google.com/print?hl=en&id=55KE-nNtTRUC&pg=PA263&lpg=PA263&sig=pp2fv17oynz5w73_Cq1kKV3YgKI]):
- Said to have been martyred as a Christian legionary commander of late Roman times for having refused an imperial order to kill one in ten (that is, decimate [,] in the Roman meaning of the word) of the soldiers of another legion which had gone into revolt
To reduce anything by one in ten, or ten percent.
* 2007 , Russell T Davies, The Sound of Drums'', episode 12 of revived series 3 of ''Doctor Who :
- where Caesar threatened to disband Legio X after a mutiny. The men begged him to decimate them instead, and Caesar relented in the same way that Titus refrained from executing this cavalryman after his comrades’ appeal.
* 1840 , P J Proudhon, ([http://print.google.com/print?hl=en&id=zVx5JLepYrsC&pg=PA164&lpg=PA164&sig=NuyvXEikIdgZAnc17xlO_irqsm0]):
- Shall we decimate them? That sounds good, nice word. Remove one-tenth of the population!
(historical) To exact a tithe or tax of 10 percent.
* 1669 , , The wild gallant :
- Out of nine hundred, ninety will be ejected, that the production of the others may be increased one-tenth. Here, then, we have a society which is continually decimating itself[.]
* 1819 , (John Lingard), History of England ([http://print.google.com/print?hl=en&id=_oyv8qYm2p0C&pg=PA352&lpg=PA352&sig=YkvtlMBSnPMQR9CNBVeJ6ZYKFuc]):
- I have heard you are as poor as a decimated Cavalier [referring to Cromwell's ten per cent. income-tax on Cavaliers], and had not one foot of land in all the world.
To reduce to one-tenth.
* 1998 , Israel, the Land and the People, edited by H Wayne House ([http://print.google.com/print?hl=en&id=cYAJwOR_WucC&pg=PA63&lpg=PA63&sig=JdWxs7ANZdt2Rsf8l3XvrufbUEY]):
- In addition, an ordinance was published that “all who had ever borne arms for the king, or declared themselves to be of the royal party, should be decimated , that is, pay a tenth part of all the estate which they had left, to support the charge which the commonwealth was put to
* 2000 , Louise Redd, Hangover Soup ([http://print.google.com/print?hl=en&id=QQhiV7Q86WwC&pg=PA90&lpg=PA90&sig=af0g5hwuqIQ25x5HDgZ989XlV6A]):
- In this dramatic picture, the nation is literally decimated , and even the tenth which remains is subjected to a further destruction.
* 2003 , Susan S. Hunter, Black Death ([http://print.google.com/print?hl=en&id=wRd8QpoVGtQC&pg=PA58&lpg=PA58&sig=VrjLlpEwSjIhvixx3vw_5zKJHVY]):
- comments about the Rangers’ decimated' pitching staff. Jay commented to the other drunks that although the word '''''decimated is often used to mean “demolished” or “destroyed,” it literally means “reduced to one-tenth of its former number.”
* 1788 , Edward Gibbon, History of (the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) volume 4 ([http://print.google.com/print?hl=en&id=NaILpSlC-b0C&pg=PA158&lpg=PA158&sig=RsQ4cf_TT_xkB1fHypjbWWAi1o4]):
- African slaves were needed to replace Native American populations that had been decimated (literally reduced to one-tenth their size) by European conquest.
* 2005 , Wilma A. Dunaway, Put in Master’s Pocket'', in ''Appalachians and Race , edited by John C Inscoe ([http://print.google.com/print?hl=en&id=hea586e-L0QC&pg=PA116&lpg=PA116&sig=X4GTYsenkf2pcv9rXG9dvFOep1k]):
- Yet such population [viz. 300,000 males slain] is incredible; and the second or third city of Italy need not repine if we only decimate the numbers of the present text. Both Milan and Genoa revived in less than thirty years.
To severely reduce; to destroy almost completely.
* , History of England from the fall of Wolsey to the death of Elizabeth :
- In the New World, European colonists initially enslaved Native Americans, decimating the indigenous populations to one-tenth of their original sizes.
* 2004 , Adrian Goldsworthy, In the Name of Rome ([http://print.google.com/print?hl=en&id=TdKqfF9u4WQC&pg=PA245&lpg=PA245&sig=qrUZwfkR44lgJz-TrvZpYbrjSDI]):
- It [England] had decimated itself for a question which involved no principle, and led to no result.
(computer graphics) To replace a high-resolution model with one of lower resolution but acceptably similar appearance.
* 1999 , Mihalisin, Timlin and Schwegler in Visualizing Multivariate Functions, Data and Distributions'', collected in ''Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think , ISBN 1558605339, page 122:
- He then declared that he would decimate Legio IX, but allowed himself to be ‘persuaded’ by the pleas of officers and men only to execute twelve of the 120 soldiers seen as ringleaders.
* 2001 , Inside 3Ds Max 4 , edited by Kim Lee, ISBN 0735710945, page 56:
- A decimate tool allows us to obtain a more coarse-grained view of the data over the full (n)-dimensional space.
* 2004 , Geremy Heitz, Torsten Rohlfing and Calvin Maurer in Automatic Generation of Shape Models using Nonrigid Registration with a Single Segmented Template Mesh'' collected in ''Vision Modeling and Visualization 2004 ISBN 1586034723, page 74:
- However, many times it is more practical to decimate existing high-res models because of time, money or manpower issues.
- Given this initial fine mesh, we smooth and decimate it to a desired mesh resolution.
The definition reduce by one in ten'' is occasionally cited as "the correct" definition, with ''severely reduce'' considered a misconception, arrived at by reading ''decimate'' as to reduce to''' one-tenth rather than ' by one-tenth.
The Cambridge Guide to English Usage states that the nonspecific use of this word to mean devastate'' or ''severely reduce the numbers of is "nowadays the commonest use of the word in both British and American English, and it’s registered without comment in modern dictionaries." It also advises against using numbers with the term, as "They are redundant where it means 'reduce by one tenth', and where it doesn't they confound the arithmetic."
23 occurrences of decimate in the British National Corpus] — compare [http://sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/saraWeb?qy=decimates decimates], [http://sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/saraWeb?qy=decimated decimated], and [http://sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/saraWeb?qy=decimating decimating — almost all clearly accord with the nonspecific sense. The only references to the historical sense are two complaints about modern usage and its critics. Neither of these actually uses the term to mean "reduce by one-tenth".
To kill all of a population, usually deliberate and especially applied to pests.
(figuratively) To bring a definite end to, finish completely. A rather strong word that implies that what has been ended won't resurface.
- We'll use poison to exterminate the rats.
- Even a mass birching at the public school failed to exterminate truancy.
* (to kill all) annihilate, eradicate, extermine, uproot
* (to bring an end to) stamp out
* See also