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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!

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