Definition of diminish in English:



  • 1Make or become less.

    [with object] ‘a tax whose purpose is to diminish spending’
    [no object] ‘the pain will gradually diminish’
    • ‘Devotees claim that pain and disease diminish or disappear after just weeks of practice.’
    • ‘Consequently, as quotas increased over the decades in keeping with world economic growth, the role of the basic votes diminished gradually.’
    • ‘It should gradually diminish as the body returns to balance over a few months of treatment.’
    • ‘The agrarian sector of the economy is gradually diminishing as the service sector assumes prominence.’
    • ‘Chances are the pain will diminish as your musculature recovers.’
    • ‘With its coming it was expected that accidents on the route would diminish considerably.’
    • ‘This relative dominance of the root over the shoot diminishes gradually as the plant grows.’
    • ‘I must say Amsterdam is a great place, but my life expectancy would spectacularly diminish if I stayed there.’
    • ‘Many critics felt that the sense of likeness gained through the use of contemporary dress diminished gradually as time went by and fashions changed.’
    • ‘My pain has diminished as a result of the hands-on instruction, group work and breathing and relaxation exercises that constitute the classes.’
    • ‘The ability to do this is greatest in the very young and diminishes gradually with age.’
    • ‘It certainly can't be a barrel of laughs watching your portfolio gradually diminish in value.’
    • ‘The propensity for people enriched by capital gains to borrow and spend is gradually diminishing.’
    • ‘Their respect for you gradually diminishes during the passing time it takes you figuring out their name.’
    • ‘Her life became more and more squalid and her expectations diminished.’
    • ‘Now, the impact of the tax cuts is diminishing and interest rates are expected to go up.’
    • ‘This election we expect the scale of traditional tactical voting to diminish.’
    • ‘The baby had been getting bigger gradually and my morning sickness was diminishing.’
    • ‘The itching usually diminishes gradually and eventually stops after complete wound healing.’
    • ‘He notices that his scores are improving and his pain is diminishing or gone.’
    reduce, curtail, cut, cut down, cut back, prune, pare down, lessen, lower, decrease, shrink, contract, narrow, constrict, restrict, limit, curb, check, blunt
    decrease, decline, reduce, lessen, shrink, contract, grow smaller, fall off, drop off, slacken off
    subside, wane, abate, dwindle, fade, decline, slacken, moderate, ebb, recede, die away, die down, die out, peter out, tail off, cool off, let up, fizzle out, settle down, come to an end
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    1. 1.1[with object]Make (someone or something) seem less impressive or valuable.
      ‘the trial has aged and diminished him’
      • ‘Rather it was because he was forced to come off earlier in both these derbies after his problem diminished his ability to make an impression.’
      • ‘However, most of these remixes are available elsewhere, which greatly diminishes the value of this collection.’
      • ‘Limited conversation does in no way diminish the truth or reality of the contact.’
      • ‘But that doesn't diminish what he has accomplished here.’
      • ‘At Lynn the right of any member of the community to attend at least the more important assemblies was not diminished by the constitutional compromise of 1420.’
      • ‘But it is crucial it does not inadvertently cause problems that diminish its value.’
      • ‘The wardens complained that the plan has effectively smeared them and diminished their status.’
      • ‘The unintended results: ubiquitous recorded music playback significantly diminishes the singular impact of live music.’
      • ‘So I am not diminishing what she achieved, your Honour.’
      • ‘But that in no way diminished the original accomplishment.’
      • ‘But they diminish their own credibility with a lot of stories you cannot believe.’
      • ‘This lack of comprehensiveness in no way diminishes the valuable contribution made by this fine book.’
      • ‘There are some very expensive items which can actually diminish your credibility.’
      • ‘But this fact substantially diminishes his otherwise potent political power as Commerce Committee chair.’
      • ‘The injuries that he sustained in the crash had severely diminished his quality of life.’
      • ‘Hasn't technology increased labor's mobility and diminished the importance of physical proximity?’
      • ‘You have in my estimate, dishonoured the high office you hold and diminished our democracy.’
      • ‘Overall image fidelity in black and white was impressive, but the overall effect was diminished by the bright gray bars.’
      • ‘My friends scoff at this, claiming that the importance of sex diminishes with age.’
      • ‘Such smoothing over of differences, however, would have diminished the powerful sense of otherness that is such a valuable aspect of the book.’
      belittle, disparage, denigrate, deprecate, depreciate, devalue, demean, decry, cast aspersions on, speak ill of, speak badly of, run down, abuse, insult, revile, malign, vilify
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  • (the law of) diminishing returns

    • Used to refer to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.

      • ‘The basis for the argument is the law of diminishing returns: As increasing amounts of a variable input are added, the returns per unit become less and less.’
      • ‘As the region matures, they face the law of diminishing returns where it costs an increasing amount to get less out of the ground.’
      • ‘As a result, the benefits of increased capital formation dissipate in the law of diminishing returns.’
      • ‘The quest for perfect information demands the highest investment of time and money and ignores the law of diminishing returns.’
      • ‘However, because of the law of diminishing returns, the way we've spent money on politics will change.’
      • ‘The more exercise is taken, within a normal lifestyle, the greater the health benefit; yet a law of diminishing returns applies.’
      • ‘Moreover, as these crops become ever more susceptible to pests, they require ever greater use of pesticides to produce equal amounts of food - a classic case of the law of diminishing returns.’
      • ‘Asked whether another poor deal would mean further controversial hikes in parking charges, he said the council recognised all charges were affected by the law of diminishing returns.’
      • ‘The law of diminishing returns limits benefits from pay boosts and bonuses.’
      • ‘Those involve women outsmarting and outrunning trained government agents, and a series of tiring car chases that vividly illustrate the law of diminishing returns.’


Late Middle English: blend of archaic minish diminish (based on Latin minutia smallness) and obsolete diminue speak disparagingly (based on Latin deminuere lessen (in late Latin diminuere), from minuere make small).