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[v. dih-krees; n. dee-krees, dih-krees] /v. dɪˈkris; n. ˈdi kris, dɪˈkris/
verb (used without object), decreased, decreasing.
to diminish or lessen in extent, quantity, strength, power, etc.:
During the ten-day march across the desert their supply of water decreased rapidly.
verb (used with object), decreased, decreasing.
to make less; cause to diminish:
to decrease one's work load.
the act or process of decreasing; condition of being decreased; gradual reduction:
a decrease in sales; a decrease in intensity.
the amount by which a thing is lessened:
The decrease in sales was almost 20 percent.
Origin of decrease
1350-1400; Middle English decres (noun), decresen (v.) < Old French decreiss-, long stem of decreistre < Latin dēcrēscere (dē- de- + crēscere to grow); see crescent
Related forms
undecreased, adjective
1. wane, lessen, fall off, decline, contract, abate. Decrease, diminish, dwindle, shrink imply becoming smaller or less in amount. Decrease commonly implies a sustained reduction in stages, especially of bulk, size, volume, or quantity, often from some imperceptible cause or inherent process: The swelling decreased daily. Diminish usually implies the action of some external cause that keeps taking away: Disease caused the number of troops to diminish steadily. Dwindle implies an undesirable reduction by degrees, resulting in attenuation: His followers dwindled to a mere handful. Shrink especially implies contraction through an inherent property under specific conditions: Many fabrics shrink in hot water. 3. abatement, decline, subsidence, shrinking, dwindling, ebbing.
1. increase, expand. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for decrease


verb (dɪˈkriːs)
to diminish or cause to diminish in size, number, strength, etc
noun (ˈdiːkriːs; dɪˈkriːs)
the act or process of diminishing; reduction
the amount by which something has been diminished
Derived Forms
decreasing, adjective
decreasingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French descreistre, from Latin dēcrescere to grow less, from de- + crescere to grow
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 decrease

late 14c., from Anglo-French decreiss-, present participle stem of decreistre, Old French descroistre (12c., Modern French décroître), from Latin decrescere "to grow less, diminish," from de- "away from" (see de-) + crescere "to grow" (see crescent). Related: Decreased; decreasing.


late 14c., "detriment, harm;" early 15c. as "a becoming less or smaller," from Anglo-French decres; see decrease (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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