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English Dictionary      examples: 'day', 'get rid of', 'New York Bay'

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

... civilisation treated each other, first as beasts for slaughter and then as beasts of burden. And what was it but want that drove them to both of these courses? Is not the conviction forced upon us that our ancestors were compelled at first to eat each other, and, when they refrained from that, to decimate each other, simply because they had become too strong to be saved from over-population by the interposition of nature? In the first epoch of civilisation man protected himself against a scarcity of food by slaying ...
— Freeland - A Social Anticipation • Theodor Hertzka

... whose interest in the question is mainly commercial, that China's millions should be brought under a vigorous and progressive Government, able and willing to develop the vast trade resources at their disposal, than that they should decimate themselves and ruin their country by perpetual internecine strife. Whether it will be to the interest of England in a political point of view that Russia should attain the commanding position which the possession of any part of China would undoubtedly secure her, ...
— The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879 • Various

... 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 each man ...
— Darkness and Dawn • George Allan England

... hacienda of Ake. It belongs to Don Bernardo Peon, one of the wealthiest men of the country, but on account of the insalubrity of the climate it is to-day well nigh abandoned. Only a few Indian servants, living in a constant dread of the paludean fevers that decimate their families, remained to take care of the scanty herds of cattle and horses which form now the whole wealth of the farm. In the first days of March we arrived at the gate of the farm-house. The Majordomo had received ...
— The Mayas, the Sources of Their History / Dr. Le Plongeon in Yucatan, His Account of Discoveries • Stephen Salisbury, Jr.

... to do it, Dave!" he cried. "Reload and give 'em another volley. Unless they come out and attack us we can decimate 'em." ...
— The Rulers of the Lakes - A Story of George and Champlain • Joseph A. Altsheler

... like ninepins, among the Turks, where a man's life is as cheap as the Halfpenny Hatch. I was with that famous Commander Baron Trenck[D] when his Pandours—of whom I was one—broke into Mutiny. He drew a pistol from his belt, and said, "I shall decimate you." And he began to count Ten, "one, two, three, four," and so on, till he came to the tenth man, whom he shot Dead. And then he took to counting again, until he was arrived at the second Tenth. That man's brains he ...
— The Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous, Vol. 1 of 3 • George Augustus Sala

... the last years makes it seem all the more probable that mysterious influences are at work, and the native suspects enemies everywhere, whom he tries to render harmless by killing them. This leads to endless murders and vendettas, which decimate the population nearly as much as the diseases do. The natives know probably something about poisons, but they are always poisons that have to be mixed with food, and this is not an easy thing to do, as every native prepares his food himself. Most of the dreaded poisons are therefore simply charms, ...
— Two Years with the Natives in the Western Pacific • Felix Speiser

... 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

... 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 on the table, ...
— Les Miserables - Complete in Five Volumes • Victor Hugo

... inaction, and within which a frightful 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 many victims. ...
— History of the Rise of the Huguenots - Volume 2 • Henry Baird

... They could only retreat by forcing the American infantry, in front, and they could only resist by facing the Kentucky Riflemen in the rear, who had already ridden through them and had now raised their rifles to decimate them. The British threw down their arms and the Indians, with the exception of Tecumseh and a chosen few fled, yelling, through the woods. Tecumseh fought desperately, even with the mounted rifles. He sprang upon their leader, Colonel ...
— The Rise of Canada, from Barbarism to Wealth and Civilisation - Volume 1 • Charles Roger

... degree than the more uniform march performance of the men, who, moreover, are susceptible to moral influences, capable of greatly increasing their powers; finally, sore backs and lameness in long-continued exertions decimate the ranks of the horses to a much greater degree than a well-trained and equipped ...
— Cavalry in Future Wars • Frederick von Bernhardi

... stage in the science of murder. The 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 of the science in which the ...
— Charlotte's Inheritance • M. E. Braddon

... deliberate at liberty. I come, messieurs, from the States-general. I carried the protest of my nephew de Conde before that assembly, and three hundred of those gentlemen have released him. You wish to shed royal blood and to decimate the nobility of the kingdom, do you? Ha! in future, I defy you, and all your schemes, Messieurs de Lorraine. If you order the king's head opened, by this sword which saved France from Charles V., I say ...
— Catherine de' Medici • Honore de Balzac

... found in quartz. Voltaire is a monkey in mischief, and a spaniel in obsequiousness. He declaims against the cruel and tyrannical; and he kisses the hands of adulteresses who murder their husbands, and of robbers who decimate their gang. ...
— Imaginary Conversations and Poems - A Selection • Walter Savage Landor

... latter are unknown the innocent must even be punished in their place, and note that the punishment is applied not because a misdeed has been committed, but in order that no more shall be committed. To burn a neighbourhood, shoot hostages, decimate a population which has taken up arms against the army—all this is far less a reprisal than the sounding of a note of warning for the territory not yet occupied. Do not doubt it; it was as a note of warning that Baltin, Herve, Louvain, and ...
— The World in Chains - Some Aspects of War and Trade • John Mavrogordato

... up a still and brewed some powerful concoction. He had insisted that we all sample it, and everyone had, just to please Willy (they thought!) and had all gotten roaring drunk. And had safely passed through one of those plague areas that come up once in a century out of who knows where to decimate any population that happens to be in ...
— Jack of No Trades • Charles Cottrell

... 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 Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) • John Holland Rose

... additional proof, if proof were wanting, of the degradation of Imperial Rome, that the deed of retribution was due, not to the people whom he taxed; not to the soldiers, whole regiments of whom he had threatened to decimate; not to the knights, of whom scores had been put to death by his orders; not to the nobles, multitudes of whom had been treated by him with conspicuous infamy; not even to the Senate, which illustrious body he had on all occasions ...
— Seekers after God • Frederic William Farrar

... their leaders in this very critical moment. Under these conditions it is impossible to open a breach on the enemy, because it would take a third of our men who cannot go out, and whom the enemy would decimate. The result would be a terrible disaster, without obtaining, as you desire, the salvation of eleven maimed battalions. To make a sortie protected by the division at Holguin, it is necessary to attack ...
— The Colored Regulars in the United States Army • T. G. Steward

... the animals which can only be hunted successfully with dogs. Most dogs however do not take at all kindly to the pursuit. A wolf is a terrible fighter. He will decimate a pack of hounds by rabid snaps with his giant jaws while suffering little damage himself; nor are the ordinary big dogs, supposed to be fighting dogs, able to tackle him without special training. I have known one wolf to kill a bulldog which had rushed at it with a single snap, ...
— Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches • Theodore Roosevelt

... exclaimed my brother. "Sure is funny, brother, how you can decimate good money into the ...
— Tales of Fishes • Zane Grey

... deluge? The sinner, make him responsible for his sin; the criminal, make him responsible for his crime: but be calm, and do not cut off all; be patient, and do not drown all. What was the good of causing the deluge? A lion had only to come to decimate the people. What was the good of causing the deluge? A leopard had only to come to decimate the people. What was the good of causing the deluge? Famine had only to present itself to desolate the country. What was the good of causing the deluge? Nera the Plague had only to come to destroy ...
— History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 3 (of 12) • G. Maspero

Words linked to "Decimate" :   wipe out, carry off, decimation, eradicate, extinguish, eliminate, annihilate

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