To grow less, opposed to increase; to be diminished gradually, in size, degree, number, duration, etc, or in strength, quality, or excellence; as, they days decrease in length from June to December. "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John III. 30)

Synonyms: To Decrease, Diminish.

Things usually decrease or fall off by degrees, and from within, or through some cause which is imperceptible; as, the flood decreases; the cold decreases; their affection has decreased. Things commonly diminish by an influence from without, or one which is apparent; as, the army was diminished by disease; his property is diminishing through extravagance; their affection has diminished since their separation their separation. The turn of thought, however, is often such that these words may be interchanged. "The olive leaf, which certainly them told The flood decreased." (Drayton) "Crete's ample fields diminish to our eye; Before the Boreal blasts the vessels fly." (Pope)

Origin: OE. Decrecen, fr. OF. Decreistre, F. Decroitre, or from the OF. Noun (see Decrease,), fr. L. Decrescere to grow less; de + crescere to grow. See Crescent, and cf. Increase.

(01 Mar 1998)

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