verb (decreases, decreasing, decreased )
to become or to make something smaller or less:
The number of people in the village has decreased from 200 to 100.
>> decrease noun:
There was a decrease in the number of people living in the village.
I. de‧crease1 /dɪˈkriːs/ BrE AmE verb [intransitive and transitive]
[Date: 1300-1400; Language: Anglo-French; Origin: decreistre, from Latin decrescere, from crescere 'to grow']
to become less or go down to a lower level, or to make something do this ⇨ reduce OPP increase:
The number of people who have the disease has decreased significantly in recent years.
They want to decrease their reliance on oil.
Average house prices decreased by 13% last year.
By 1881, the population of Ireland had decreased to 5.2 million.
The North’s share of the world’s energy consumption is expected to decrease from 70% to 60%.
Attacks of asthma decrease in frequency through early adult life.
• • •
▪ significantly (=enough to be an important change) Violent crime has significantly decreased over the last ten years.
▪ considerably/substantially (=a lot) During this period unemployment decreased considerably.
▪ markedly (=very noticeably) Aircraft collisions decreased markedly during the 1990s.
▪ rapidly (=very quickly) Since then, elephant numbers have been decreasing rapidly.
▪ dramatically (=suddenly and a lot) The survival rate decreases dramatically as the disease progresses.
▪ slightly (=a little) Population levels actually began to slightly decrease five years ago.
▪ steadily (=gradually and continuously) The proportion of adult cigarette smokers has been steadily decreasing.
• • •
▪ decrease to become less in number or amount: The average rainfall has decreased by around 30 percent.
▪ go down to decrease. Go down is less formal than decrease and is the usual word to use in conversation: Unemployment has gone down in the past few months.
▪ decline formal to decrease – used with numbers or amounts, or about the level or standard of something: The standard of living has declined. | Support for the government is steadily declining. | Salaries have declined by around 4.5%.
▪ diminish to become smaller or less important: Union membership diminished from 30,000 at its height to just 2,000 today.
▪ fall/drop to decrease, especially by a large amount. Fall and drop are less formal than decrease: The number of tigers in the wild has fallen to just over 10,000. | At night, the temperature drops to minus 20 degrees.
▪ plunge /plʌndʒ//plummet /ˈplʌmət, ˈplʌmɪt/ to suddenly decrease very quickly and by a very large amount: Share prices have plummeted 29% in the last four months. | Climate change could cause global temperatures to plummet.
▪ slide if a price or value slides, it gradually decreases in a way that causes problems – used especially in news reports: The dollar fell in late trading in New York yesterday and slid further this morning.
▪ dwindle /ˈdwɪndl/ to gradually decrease until there is very little left of something, especially numbers or amounts, popularity, or importance: Support for the theory is dwindling.
▪ taper off /ˈteɪpə $ -ər/ if a number or the amount of an activity that is happening tapers off, it gradually decreases, especially so that it stops completely: Political violence tapered off after the elections.
de·crease [decrease decreases decreased decreasing] verb, noun
verb [dɪˈkriːs] ; [dɪˈkriːs] intransitive, transitive (rather formal)
to become or make sth become smaller in size, number, etc
• ~ (from sth) (to sth) The number of new students decreased from 210 to 160 this year.
• a decreasing population
• Donations have decreased significantly over the past few years.
• ~ by sth The price of wheat has decreased by 5%.
• ~ in sth This species of bird is decreasing in numbers every year.
• ~ sth People should decrease the amount of fat they eat.
late Middle English: from Old French decreis (noun), decreistre (verb), based on Latin decrescere, from de- ‘down’ + crescere ‘grow’.
1. I (formal)
• The number of students has decreased this year.
fall • • drop • • decline • • come down • • diminish • |especially business sink • • slump • • plunge • • plummet • • tumble •
decrease/fall/drop/decline/come down/diminish/sink/slump/plunge/plummet/tumble by 100, 25%, a half, etc.
decrease/fall/drop/decline/come down/diminish/sink/sink/slump/plunge/plummet/tumble from 1 500 to 1 000
decrease/decline/diminish with age, time, experience, etc.
prices decrease/fall/drop/decline/come down/sink/slump/plunge/plummet/tumble
2. T (formal)
• People should decrease the amount of sugar in their diets.
reduce • • cut • • lower • • bring sth down • • cut sth back/cut back on sth • • cut sth down/cut down on sth • • minimize • • turn sth down • |especially AmE business scale sth back • |journalism slash •
decrease/reduce/cut/lower/bring down/cut back/cut down/scale back sth from 100 to 75
decrease/reduce/cut/lower/bring down/cut back/cut down/scale back sth by half, 50, etc.
decrease/reduce/cut/lower/bring down/minimize the risk/rate of sth
Decrease or reduce? Decrease is more formal and less frequent than its opposite, increase; it is used especially in the contexts of health and medicine. The more usual opposite of increase is reduce.
• Average family size has decreased from five to three children.
• Crime has decreased by 20 per cent.
• Spending has decreased slightly this year.
• The heart gradually decreases in size.
• The number of quarrels among children decreases with age.
• The dose was gradually decreased after eight weeks.
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition
decrease / dɪˈkriːs / / ˈdiː.kriːs / verb [ I or T ]
B1 to become less, or to make something become less:
Our share of the market has decreased sharply this year.
We have decreased our involvement in children's books.
→ Opposite increase
© Cambridge University Press 2013
decreases, decreasing, decreased
(The verb is pronounced [dɪkri͟ːs]. The noun is pronounced [di͟ːkriːs].)
1) V-ERG When something decreases or when you decrease it, it becomes less in quantity, size, or intensity.
[V by amount] Population growth is decreasing by 1.4% each year...
[V from/to amount] The number of independent firms decreased from 198 to 96...
[V amount] Raw-steel production by the nation's mills decreased 2.1% last week...
[V in n] Since 1945 air forces have decreased in size...
[V n] Gradually decrease the amount of vitamin C you are taking when you begin to feel better...
[V-ing] We've got stable labor, decreasing interest rates, low oil prices.
2) N-COUNT: oft N in/of n A decrease is a reduction in the quantity, size, or intensity of something.
In Spain and Portugal there has been a decrease in the number of young people out of work...
Bank base rates have fallen from 10 per cent to 6 per cent - a decrease of 40 per cent.
1de·crease /dɪˈkriːs/ verb -creas·es; -creased; -creas·ing
1 [no obj] : to become smaller in size, amount, number, etc.
• Sales decreased by five percent this year.
• The population is decreasing steadily. = The population is steadily decreasing in size.
2 [+ obj] : to make (something) smaller in size, amount, number, etc.
• By exercising often, you can decrease [=reduce, lower] your chance of developing heart disease.
• The driver decreased her speed as she approached the curve.
• These changes will decrease our expenses.
- opposite increase
- decreased adj
• The patient has a decreased appetite.
• a decreased risk of heart disease
- decreasingly adv
• The medication has been decreasingly effective. [=has gradually been becoming less effective]