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decimate - vocabulary

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decimate - verb

To destroy a measurable or large proportion of.

Note: Originally, decimate meant to select by lot and execute every tenth soldier of a unit. But the current usage of the word, originating in the 19th century, means to destroy a large amount of something. But because of the “one-tenth” sense of the word, careful writers avoid accompanying decimate with percentages, as in Bird flue decimated 80% of the flock. Instead, use destroyed.

The rain forests continue to be decimated.

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