from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To grow or cause to grow gradually less or smaller, as in number, amount, or intensity.
  • n. The act or process of decreasing.
  • n. The amount by which something decreases.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. Of a quantity, to become smaller.
  • v. To make (a quantity) smaller.
  • n. An amount by which a quantity is decreased.
  • n. A reduction in the number of stitches, usually accomplished by suspending the stitch to be decreased from another existing stitch or by knitting it together with another stitch. See Decrease (knitting).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A becoming less; gradual diminution; decay.
  • n. The wane of the moon.
  • intransitive v. To grow less, -- opposed to increase; to be diminished gradually, in size, degree, number, duration, etc., or in strength, quality, or excellence.
  • transitive v. To cause to grow less; to diminish gradually.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To become less; lessen; be diminished gradually in extent, bulk, quantity, or amount, or in strength, influence, or excellence: as, the days decrease in length from June to December.
  • To make less; lessen; make smaller in dimensions, amount, quality, excellence, etc.; reduce gradually or by small deductions.
  • n. A becoming less; diminution; wane (as applied to the moon); decay: as, a rapid decrease of revenue or of strength.
  • n. The amount by which something is lessened; extent of loss or decrement: as, a great decrease in production or of income.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the act of decreasing or reducing something
  • v. decrease in size, extent, or range
  • v. make smaller
  • n. the amount by which something decreases
  • n. a change downward
  • n. a process of becoming smaller or shorter


Middle English decresen, from Old French decreistre, decreiss-, from Latin dēcrēscere : dē-, de- + crēscere, to grow; see ker-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French descreistre (French: décroître), from Latin decrescere. (Wiktionary)



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