Definition of decrement in US English:



  • 1A reduction or diminution.

    ‘relaxation produces a decrement in sympathetic nervous activity’
    • ‘In contrast, the feeling of fatigue, which is distinct from performance decrements, cannot be objectively measured, however it can be estimated by fatigue questionnaires.’
    • ‘Yet at some point, training reduction or complete inactivity will produce a decrement in physiological function and performance.’
    • ‘A consequence of their altered body composition, particularly the decrement in muscle mass, is a reduction in productivity during real life tasks.’
    • ‘Both groups demonstrated large decrements in perceived physical health and smaller decrements in perceived emotional and mental health.’
    • ‘Without treatment, patients often report a general impairment in their daily functioning and demonstrate decrements in attention, vigilance, and memory.’
    1. 1.1 An amount by which something is reduced or diminished.
      ‘the dose was reduced by 10 mg weekly decrements’
      • ‘Several months later, the pressure ulcer had not healed and the patient experienced a decrement of about 10% from pretrauma body weight.’
    2. 1.2Physics The ratio of the amplitudes in successive cycles of a damped oscillation.
      • ‘The response amplitudes also converged as the trains progressed, although the relative decrement in response amplitude was lower.’
      • ‘Enlargement is supported by the observation that many small conductance increments can lead to a large decrement.’
      • ‘The primary evidence for channel enlargement is the observation of multiple conductance increments followed by a large conductance decrement.’
      • ‘Second, the relative decrement in response amplitude during a train is greatest closest to the release site, i.e., with exposure to the highest concentrations of transmitter.’


[with object]Computing
  • Cause a discrete reduction in (a numerical quantity)

    ‘the instruction decrements the accumulator by one’
    • ‘As the system progresses down the prioritized list, resources are decremented from the available list.’
    • ‘When a message is sent to an evaluator, it increments a counter corresponding to that object and when the results are returned, the counter of the sender is decremented (which is encoded in the message).’
    • ‘Likewise, when the kernel is finished with the module, it knows to decrement the count automatically.’
    • ‘When it is finished with it, the reference count is decremented.’
    • ‘The timer value is decremented at regular intervals.’


Early 17th century (as a noun): from Latin decrementum ‘diminution’, from the stem of decrescere ‘to decrease’.