Definition of decrement in US English:



  • 1A reduction or diminution.

    ‘relaxation produces a decrement in sympathetic nervous activity’
    • ‘Without treatment, patients often report a general impairment in their daily functioning and demonstrate decrements in attention, vigilance, and memory.’
    • ‘In contrast, the feeling of fatigue, which is distinct from performance decrements, cannot be objectively measured, however it can be estimated by fatigue questionnaires.’
    • ‘Both groups demonstrated large decrements in perceived physical health and smaller decrements in perceived emotional and mental health.’
    • ‘A consequence of their altered body composition, particularly the decrement in muscle mass, is a reduction in productivity during real life tasks.’
    • ‘Yet at some point, training reduction or complete inactivity will produce a decrement in physiological function and performance.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The primary evidence for channel enlargement is the observation of multiple conductance increments followed by a large conductance decrement.’


[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).’
    • ‘The timer value is decremented at regular intervals.’
    • ‘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.’


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