decem-, decim-, deci-, dec-

(Latin: ten; also, a decimal prefix used in the international metric system for measurements)

In the metric [decimal] system, deci- [DE si] is used to show 1/10 of a unit, as 10-1 [0.1]; tenth [U.S.] and tenth part [U.K.]. The metric symbol is d.

decimate (verb), decimates; decimated; decimating
1. To drastically reduce the number of people or of things: Health experts say that smoking has decimated the lives of many people with lung cancer.

The lack of rain can decimate many agricultural products of farmers.

2. To cause extensive harm or damage: The more elderly people become older, the more they decimate their physical and mental conditions.
3. To severely damage or to destroy a large part of something: Throughout history, many people have been decimated as a result of wars.

There are some linguists who argue that decimate should refer to people and not to things or animals; such as, weeds or insects.

To destroy a large number of something.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

decimetre (British)
1. Large or immense; such as, a wave.
2. In ancient Rome: of or pertaining to the tenth cohort of a legion.

Also called the decuman gate. In ancient Rome, it was the main gate of a military camp, facing away from the enemy and near which the tenth cohort (unit) of the legion was usually stationed.

1. A head or chief over ten; especially, an officer who commanded a division of ten soldiers.
2. In ancient Rome, an officer in command of ten soldiers.
3. A council member in the Roman Empire
In ancient Rome, a unit of ten soldiers.

Related "metric" families: yotta; zetta; exa; peta; tera; giga; mega; kilo; hecto; deka; centi; milli; micro; nano; pico; femto; atto; zepto; yocto.