decimation

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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.

Pronunciation[edit]

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Noun[edit]

decimation ‎(plural decimations)

  1. (strictly) The killing or punishment of every tenth person, usually by lot.
  2. (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.
  3. A tithe or the act of tithing.
  4. (mathematics) The creation of a new sequence comprising only every nth element of a source sequence.
  5. (telecommunications) A digital signal-processing technique for reducing the number of samples in a discrete-time signal.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (the act of killing or punishing each tenth person): tithing
  • (the payment of a tenth to the clergy): See tithe

Coordinate terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  • The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1914

Anagrams[edit]