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Political Vocabulary Peeve (1 Viewer)

Rexedgar

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I looked the definition up and the first line was: kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage or part of

This word is bandied about by left and right and the news/media.

When did decimate stray from the one in ten meaning?

kill one in every ten of (a group of soldiers or others) as a punishment for the whole group


https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decimate
 
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To be fair, the cloud started it
 
Decimate has been closer to leave one-tenth intact than destroy one-tenth for as long as I can remember.

I have been reminded of the etymology of it many times, but the common usage has been closer to obliterate for most of my 50-mumble years.
 
I looked the definition up and the first line was: kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage or part of

This word is bandied about by left and right and the news/media.

When did decimate stray from the one in ten meaning?

kill one in every ten of (a group of soldiers or others) as a punishment for the whole group


https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decimate

Perhaps when 10% became a "large percentage or part of".
 
I looked the definition up and the first line was: kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage or part of

This word is bandied about by left and right and the news/media.

When did decimate stray from the one in ten meaning?

kill one in every ten of (a group of soldiers or others) as a punishment for the whole group

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decimate


Probably once the Roman military stopped doing that and instead switching to donatives to motivate troops.






Decimate has been closer to leave one-tenth intact than destroy one-tenth for as long as I can remember.

I have been reminded of the etymology of it many times, but the common usage has been closer to obliterate for most of my 50-mumble years.

I haven't seen it used that way in modern times. Not anywhere close. As you say, it's now used as "obliterate" or "utterly destroy" or something like that. Of course, it really did mean drawing lots and being beaten to death by one's fellow soldiers as punishment for some failure of braveness during the rise of the Roman empire, 500-200ish B.C. One out of each ten.

Basically, you did not want to **** with the Romans, especially the early ones. A brutal machine.
 
I looked the definition up and the first line was: kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage or part of

This word is bandied about by left and right and the news/media.

When did decimate stray from the one in ten meaning?

kill one in every ten of (a group of soldiers or others) as a punishment for the whole group


https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decimate



Probably about the same time you, as a child, announced you were doing to decimate your sister in a game of risk.


It's rather common for words, over time, to get watered down. Take the word "awesome", for example.


A super nova is awesome, but your mother's new pudding recipe is not.

But, today, it might be.
 

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