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Dec 4, 2012
This week's theme
Words derived from numbers

This week's words
septentrional
decimate
hebdomad
doyen
dubious

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

decimate

PRONUNCIATION:
(DES-i-mayt)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To destroy a large part of something.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin decimare (to take the tenth), from decem (ten). Earliest documented use: around 1600. Also see hecatomb.

NOTES:
In the ancient Roman army a group of soldiers guilty of mutiny were punished by killing every tenth soldier. Today the word has evolved to mean large-scale damage where a major proportion is annihilated. Instead of 10%, today it's more like 90%.

USAGE:
"The World T20 showed now they have the batting firepower to decimate their opponents."
Shamik Chakrabarty; IPL's Gangnam Effect; Financial Express (New Delhi, India); Oct 14, 2012.

See more usage examples of decimate in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -Milan Kundera, novelist, playwright, and poet (b.1929)

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