Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To make smaller or less or to cause to appear so.
  • transitive v. To detract from the authority, reputation, or prestige of.
  • transitive v. To cause to taper.
  • transitive v. Music To reduce (a perfect or minor interval) by a semitone.
  • intransitive v. To become smaller or less. See Synonyms at decrease.
  • intransitive v. To taper.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make smaller.
  • v. To become smaller.
  • v. To taper.
  • v. To disappear gradually.
  • v. To reduce a perfect or minor interval by a semitone.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make smaller in any manner; to reduce in bulk or amount; to lessen; -- opposed to augment or increase.
  • transitive v. To lessen the authority or dignity of; to put down; to degrade; to abase; to weaken.
  • transitive v. To make smaller by a half step; to make (an interval) less than minor.
  • transitive v. To take away; to subtract.
  • intransitive v. To become or appear less or smaller; to lessen.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lessen; make or seem to make less or smaller by any means; reduce: opposed to increase and augment: as, to diminish a number by subtraction; to diminish the revenue by reducing the customs.
  • To lower in power, importance, or estimation; degrade; belittle; detract from.
  • To take away; subtract: with from, and applied to the object removed.
  • In music, to lessen by a semitone, as an interval.
  • To lessen; become or appear less or smaller; dwindle: as, the prospect of success is diminishing by delay.
  • Synonyms Dwindle, Contract, etc. (see decrease); to shrink, subside, abate, ebb, fall off.
  • To taper, as a column.

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

  • v. decrease in size, extent, or range
  • v. lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of

Etymologies

Middle English diminishen, blend of diminuen, to lessen (from Old French diminuer, from Latin dīminuere, variant of dēminuere : dē-, de- + minuere, to lessen) and minishen, to reduce (from Old French minuiser, from Vulgar Latin *minūtiāre, from Latin minūtia, smallness, from minūtus, small, from past participle of minuere).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French diminuer. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The Dative of Reference denotes the person _to whom a statement refers, of whom it is true_, or _to whom it is of interest; _ as, -- mihi ante oculōs versāris, _you hover before my eyes_ (lit. _hover before the eyes to me_); illī sevēritās amōrem nōn dēminuit, _in his case severity did not diminish love_ (lit. _to him severity did not diminish_); interclūdere inimīcīs commeātum, _to cut of the supplies of the enemy.

    New Latin Grammar

  • "Uncharted 2" or "BioShock 2," I'm not going to let that number in the title diminish my enjoyment.

    Technology Technology

  • It is a known fact that the quantities of chemicals secreted by the brain diminish astronomically from the early 20's to late 70's.

    Learning Spanish

  • Woodward first appears to again diminish his earlier statement by saying that Bandar had publicly stated that the Saudis would like to see oil prices below the $30 range (i.e., he's suggesting that what Bandar may or may not have told the president in private was the same thing Bandar subsequently said publicly).

    04/25/2004

  • However, the intended Japanese audience would have known this already and it did not diminish from the devastating sadness of the ending.

    Current Movie Reviews, Independent Movies - Film Threat

  • Nicolas Sarkozy's prospects for a second term diminish after poll rout photo: Creative Commons/BotMultichillT

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  • Nicolas Sarkozy's prospects for a second term diminish after poll rout

    WN.com - Articles related to French police arrest, then release man who hacked Obama's twitter account

  • These terms diminish what these children have been through.

    Jesse Kornbluth: A Small Town vs. Refugee Soccer Players: Is That Our Future Too?

  • My view is that when people identify themselves as being associated with the IPCC and then make pronouncements far outside current scientific understandings that this will harm the credibility of climate change science and will in the longer term diminish our role in public policy.

    Sound Politics: Faith-based initiatives

  • The only way to diminish is to bring competitors into the game, other labs who gain by revealing another lab's mistakes.

    Reason Magazine - Hit & Run

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