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Decimate

From Biology-Online Dictionary
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Decimate

1. To take the tenth part of; to tithe.

2. To select by lot and punish with death every tenth man of; as, to decimate a regiment as a punishment for mutiny.

3. To destroy a considerable part of; as, to decimate an army in battle; to decimate a people by disease.

Origin: L. Decimatus, p. P. Of decimare to decimate (in senses 1 & 2), fr. Decimus tenth. See Decimal.