Decimated when you mean destroy

(4 Posts)
ThomasRichard Mon 08-Jun-15 11:39:48

Decimated: one in ten will be cut down/killed/destroyed.

It is not synonymous with 'destroy'. Sentences like, 'The nuclear blast decimated the city of Hiroshima' make my teeth grind.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 08-Jun-15 11:48:37

Its meaning has changed. It means to destroy or kill a large part of something, so the nuclear blast example could be correct.

Literal, historical meanings are often lost over time.

ThomasRichard Mon 08-Jun-15 11:53:18

It sounds awful though. I've only recently started to hear it in the 'destroy' sense.

CocktailQueen Tue 09-Jun-15 21:42:52

Agree with Shatner. The meaning you give is given as historical by the Oxford Dictionary. The meanings of words do change over time. And I don't like the evolution of some words either!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now