Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To select one person in every hundred for a punishment

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pick out one in a hundred of; inflict the punishment of centesimation upon.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From centēsimāt-, the perfect passive participial stem of the Latin centēsimō, from centēsimus ("hundredth"); compare tertiate, quintate, sextate, septimate, decimate, duodecimate, and millesimate.

Examples

Comments

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  • A general of Rome grown irate

    In heat may incline to decimate,

    Or soothed by the touch

    Of one he loves much

    Relent and benignly centesimate.

    July 6, 2016

  • In my high school Latin class I learned that decimation was a punishment in which one of every ten members of a disgraced legion or other military unit was bludgeoned to death by the other nine. The idea made a deep impression on me. The word seems, however, to be more commonly used to mean "utterly destroy." The common usage has always grated on my ear because the word so loudly proclaims its root in the number ten.

    Perhaps the more general application has come about because it sounds so much like "devastate." Something similar could happen to centesimate, which by its sound suggests a sensitivity to pheromones. It could come to describe mating behavior, as in, "I can tell by the tomcats' yowling that a female has been centesimated."

    July 6, 2016