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From the Latin centēsimātiō, from centēsimō, from centēsimus (hundredth); compare quintation, septimation, decimation, vicesimation, and tricesimation.




  1. (military historical, rare) The selection by lot of every hundredth man (of an army or group of prisoners or mutineers) for execution.
    • 1763, A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, second edition, page 522
      CENTESIMATION, a milder kind of military puniſhment, in caſes of deſertion, mutiny, and the like, when only every hundredth man is executed.
    • 1822, Reginald Heber, The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor XIII, page 413
      Sometimes the criminals were decimated by lot, as appears in Polybius, Tacitus, Plutarch, Appian, Dio, Julius Capitolinus, who also mentions a centesimation.
    • 1897, The Columbian Cyclopedia VI, “centesimate
      To inflict the punishment of centesimation.
    • 1980, Stephen Spender and Irving Kristol [eds.], Encounter LIV, page 71
      Centesimation…carries only one-tenth the sensation value of “decimation”.
    • 1992, Laurence Urdang, Three Toed Sloths and Seven League Boots, page 151
      Decimate, to select by lot and put to death every tenth man of (a captured army or body of prisoners or mutineers) [] Compare 1/100: centesimation.

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