Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Language: Latin
Origin: decimatus, past participle of decimare 'to remove one tenth, kill one in ten', from decem 'ten'

decimate

verb
     
dec‧i‧mate [transitive]
to destroy a large part of something:
The population has been decimated by disease.
decimation noun [uncountable]

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