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Decimate   Listen
Decimate  v. t.  (past & past part. decimated; pres. part. decimating)  
To take the tenth part of; to tithe.
To select by lot and punish with death every tenth man of; as, to decimate a regiment as a punishment for mutiny.
To destroy a considerable part of; as, to decimate an army in battle; to decimate a people by disease.

Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48

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"Decimate" Quotes from Famous Books

... murder, assassinate, butcher, despatch, execute, lynch, massacre, burke, immolate, guillotine, decimate, destroy, blast; ...
— Putnam's Word Book • Louis A. Flemming

... the then condition of what was pleasantly called literature in Germany, there was not a little to be said on the paternal side of the question, though it may not seem now a very heavy mulct to give up one son out of ten to immortality,—at least the Fates seldom decimate in this way. Lessing had now, if we accept the common standard in such matters, "completed his education," and the result may be summed up in his own words to Michaelis, 16th October, 1754: "I ...
— Among My Books - First Series • James Russell Lowell

... opened his bookcase, took a long look at all his books, one after another, as a father obliged to decimate his children would gaze upon them before making a choice, then seized one hastily, put it in under his arm and went out. He returned two hours later, without anything under his arm, laid thirty sous ...
— Les Miserables - Complete in Five Volumes • Victor Hugo

... habiliments, is formed of buffalo-skins stretched over lodge-poles), justly complains of this shameful improvidence and cruelty. Were he to deal thus with an emigrant's herd, he would be shot without mercy; why, then, should whites decimate ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. I. February, 1862, No. II. - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... pestilence had been making havoc among the flower of the chivalry of France; for, whilst fire and sword were everywhere laying waste the country, heaven had sent a subtle and still more destructive foe to decimate the wretched inhabitants. Orleans had not escaped the scourge. The city was crowded with refugees from Paris and from the whole valley of the Loire. Among these strangers, as well as among the citizens, death found ...
— History of the Rise of the Huguenots - Volume 2 • Henry Baird

... characteristic is due to inherent physiological peculiarities, and how much to the influence of circumstances. There is much evidence to show, however, that some stocks enjoy a partial or complete immunity from diseases which destroy, or decimate, others. Thus there seems good ground for the belief that Negroes are remarkably exempt from yellow fever; and that, among Europeans, the melanochrous people are less obnoxious to its ravages than the xanthochrous. But many writers, ...
— Critiques and Addresses • Thomas Henry Huxley

... all sides; behold the universal will, the living law which abolishes the written law! On the strength of this the leader of a few clubs in Paris are to depose the King, to violate the Legislative Assembly and decimate the National Convention.—In other terms, the turbulent, factious minority is to supplant the sovereign nation, and henceforth there is nothing to hinder it from doing what it pleases just when it pleases. The operation of the Constitution has ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 2 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 1 (of 3) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... the town itself. This addition to the numbers of the garrison was no increase to its strength; for the fortress, though well provisioned for an ordinary garrison, could not support a prolonged blockade, and the fevers of the early autumn soon began to decimate troops worn out by forced marches and unable to endure the miasma ascending from the marshes of ...
— The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) • John Holland Rose

... vili. Never does it inquire into the horrible statistics of the suffering it causes. Does it know the number of brain fevers among its pupils during the last thirty-six years; or the despair and the moral destruction which decimate its youth? I am pointing out to you this painful side of the State education, for it is one of the anterior contingents ...
— The Village Rector • Honore de Balzac

... the crown, but gave the restorers and royalists only a skirt of their properties. Then came a struggle for proprietal justice and religious toleration, met by an infamous conspiracy of the deceptious aristocracy and the fanatic people of England, to blast the characters of the Irish, and decimate the men; and lastly, a king, who strained his prerogative to do them justice, is driven from England by a Dutchman, supported by blue guards, black guards, and flaming lies, and is forced to throw himself on the ...
— Thomas Davis, Selections from his Prose and Poetry • Thomas Davis

... the pheasant, but it costs too much And does not tend to decimate the Dutch; Your duty plainly then before you stands, Conscription is the law for seagirt lands; Prate not of freedom! Since I learned to shoot I itch to ...
— Poems: New and Old • Henry Newbolt

... decimate the tribe toughen the survivors, and sometimes give them an apparent advantage over civilized men. The savages whom one encounters are necessarily the picked men of the race, and the observer takes no census of the multitudes who have perished ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 7, No. 39, January, 1861 • Various

... ingenious, but the refined sentiment of cruelty revealed in it is deserving of the severest censure. It is true that the introduction of German cookery into France by the Prussians, as you propose, would in a short time decimate the population, but what a fearful precedent it would be! You can best realize it by imagining Massachusetts cookery introduced into New York, and the ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 25, September 17, 1870 • Various

... symptoms of that poor Yorkshireman were the symptoms of arsenical poisoning; the symptoms of which you have told me to-day denote a vegetable poison. That affords very vague diagnosis, and leaves no trace. That was the agent which enabled the Borgias to decimate Rome. It is older than classic Greece, and simple as a b c, and will remain so until the medical expert is a recognized officer of the law, the faithful guardian of the bed over which the suspected poisoner loiters—past-master ...
— Charlotte's Inheritance • M. E. Braddon

... riches and commerce still rendered it one of the most important towns of the republic.—What has been its reward?—Barbarous envoys from the Convention, sent expressly to level the aristocracy of wealth, to crush its mercantile spirit, and decimate its inhabitants.*— ...
— A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, • An English Lady

... as an old campaigner, expresses himself very roughly. The point is, that we are after all only the trustees of the party. If we know that a certain step will decimate it ... clearly we have no right to take ...
— Waste - A Tragedy, In Four Acts • Granville Barker

... in the extreme even to venture back to the palisade. Any moment might bring a flicking, stinging messenger of death. Those two, alone, might easily decimate the remaining men of the colony—and now ...
— Darkness and Dawn • George Allan England

Words linked to "Decimate" :   decimation, extinguish, eliminate, carry off

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