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Card_Zero t1_j9tt5l8 wrote

This argument about words is distracting from the interesting point about whether or not Boris decreed military cutbacks (and if so, why). However, Wiktionary has both uses:

> (loosely) To devastate

> (proscribed) To reduce to one-tenth

and all the quotations in the latter case include some extra words like "to one-tenth" to make sure it's understood literally. In summary: whatever.


AMeasuredBerserker t1_j9tv0jo wrote

I can quite literally google the word and find this:

>Learn to pronounce
>past tense: decimated; past participle: decimated


  1. ​

>kill, destroy, or remove a large proportion of.
>"the inhabitants of the country had been decimated"
>kill one in every ten of (a group of people, originally a mutinous Roman legion) as a punishment for the whole group.
>"the man who is to determine whether it be necessary to decimate a large body of mutineers"

Im interested why you put the one source, Wikitionary, the tried and tested! as the only example above all others.

But as you so eloquently put it, because it doesn't validate your point, "Whatever" you will twist it any which way to make you right.


Card_Zero t1_j9u0jyb wrote

I'm not the same person you were talking to previously, I don't have to be right to prove any point, and in fact I acknowledge I'm wrong about everything most of the time. I just happen to like Wiktionary, it's my go-to.

I don't know about Cambridge Dictionary, but Merriam-Webster have a page of notes about this particular "problem word". acknowledge that the "devastate" usage has been criticized. My feeling is that the one-in-ten usage (probably popular in Victorian times when every user of long words knew Latin) has had an upsurge in popularity over the last decade or so due to people on the internet being anal about it.


AMeasuredBerserker t1_j9u1u1n wrote

Fair enough, I'll dial down the criticism a little, but it really did feel like you were looking for a reason that it mean 1/10th rather than using the material immediately confronted with if you googled said word. Respected dictionaries all specific state that the "1/10" meaning is historic.

I know my friends wouldn't know decimate is 1/10 and would roll my eyes if I explained its historic useage vs what everyone uses it for, but you are probably right with your last point.