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[dee-sen-truh-lahyz] /diˈsɛn trəˌlaɪz/
verb (used with object), decentralized, decentralizing.
to distribute the administrative powers or functions of (a central authority) over a less concentrated area:
to decentralize the national government.
to disperse (something) from an area of concentration:
to decentralize the nation's industry.
verb (used without object), decentralized, decentralizing.
to undergo decentralization:
The city government is looking for ways to decentralize.
Origin of decentralize
1850-55; de- + centralize
Related forms
decentralist, noun
decentralization, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for decentralize
  • When you reach a large enough system, you have to decentralize, simply because the central decision maker can't learn enough.
  • In an effort to decentralize authority, he said local governments would gain more leeway over how budgetary funds are spent.
  • With this additional cost it would also be possible to decentralize production into dispersed plants.
  • decentralize and internalize responsibility for workplace regulations.
  • We've continued to decentralize transaction authorization and the rotary reconciliation processes.
  • As the population and commercial activity of cities decentralize, however, rail's advantage wanes.
  • It makes sense to decentralize if everyone has some limited ability to control their own space.
British Dictionary definitions for decentralize


to reorganize (a government, industry, etc) into smaller more autonomous units
to disperse (a concentration, as of industry or population)
Derived Forms
decentralist, noun, adjective
decentralization, decentralisation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for decentralize

1840 (implied in decentralized), probably a back-formation from decentralization. Related: Decentralizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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