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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.
Also, especially British, decentralise.
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 decentralized
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In fact, it is the most decentralized movement in the world today.

    The I.W.W. Paul Frederick Brissenden
  • He has a social consciousness and a social passion of his own, but it is decentralized, one might say.

    Pan Knut Hamsun
  • Hoover, the centralized and responsible head, had decentralized food administration right down to each one of us.

    Herbert Hoover Vernon Kellogg
  • The plan is national in scope and operation, yet it is decentralized.

    Under Four Administrations Oscar S. Straus
  • The whole proposition can be decentralized for the good of the service.

British Dictionary definitions for decentralized


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 decentralized



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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