Borrowed from Latin decimātiō, a punishment where every 10th man in a unit would be stoned to death by the men who were spared. Used by the Romans to keep order in their military. Compare septimation and vicesimation.
decimation (plural decimations)
- (strictly) The killing or punishment of every tenth person, usually by lot.
- (generally) The killing or destruction of any large portion of a population.
- 1702: Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana - And the whole army had cause to enquire into their own rebellions, when they saw the Lord of Hosts, with a dreadful decimation, taking off so many of our brethren by the worst of executioners.
- A tithe or the act of tithing.
- (mathematics) The creation of a new sequence comprising only every nth element of a source sequence.
- (telecommunications) A digital signal-processing technique for reducing the number of samples in a discrete-time signal.
- (the act of killing or punishing each tenth person): tithing
- (the payment of a tenth to the clergy): See tithe
- (proportionate reduction, by single aliquot part): quintation (1/5), septimation (1/7), vicesimation (1/20), tricesimation (1/30), centesimation (1/100)
- The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1914