1. To make smaller in any manner; to reduce in bulk or amount; to lessen; opposed to augment or increase. "Not diminish, but rather increase, the debt." (Barrow)

2. To lessen the authority or dignity of; to put down; to degrade; to abase; to weaken. "This doth nothing diminish their opinion." (Robynson (More's Utopia)) "I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations." (Ezek. Xxix. 15) "O thou . . . at whose sight all the stars Hide their diminished heads." (Milton)

3. To make smaller by a half step; to make (an interval) less than minor; as, a diminished seventh.

4. To take away; to subtract. "Neither shall ye diminish aught from it." (Deut. Iv. 2) Diminished column, one whose upper diameter is less than the lower. Diminished, or Diminishing, scale, a scale of gradation used in finding the different points for drawing the spiral curve of the volute. Diminishing rule, a stile which is narrower in one part than in another, as in many glazed doors.

Synonyms: To decrease, lessen, abate, reduce, contract, curtail, impair, degrade. See Decrease.

Origin: Pref. Di- (= L. Dis-) + minish: cf. L. Diminuere, F. Diminuer, OE. Diminuen. See Dis-, and Minish.

(01 Mar 1998)

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