reduce

You reduce something when you lessen its volume, size, or degree. That's why we say when someone goes on a diet, it's because they want to reduce; it's a polite way of suggesting they need to drop pounds and become a smaller size.

The word reduce first appeared in Old French during the 14th Century, when it meant "bring back." From the Latin re, which meant "back," coupled with ducere, meaning "bring or lead" — we ended up with reduce. The current meaning, "to lessen," appeared in the late 1700's, drawn from the word's military use, "reduce to ranks," which meant break into smaller units. Cooks use the word reduce when they reduce a liquid, boiling it down until it has less volume and is thicker.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: reduce

1
v
make smaller
2
v
make less complex
3
v
bring to humbler or weaker state or condition
4
v
cook until very little liquid is left
5
v
to remove oxygen from a compound, or cause to react with hydrogen or form a hydride, or to undergo an increase in the number of electrons
6
v
undergo meiosis
7
v
reposition (a broken bone after surgery) back to its normal site
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: reduce
1

v make smaller

reduce an image”
Synonyms:
scale down
Antonyms:
blow up, enlarge, magnify
make large
Type of:
shrink
reduce in size; reduce physically

v reduce in size; reduce physically

Synonyms:
shrink
Types:
show 7 types...
hide 7 types...
scale down
make smaller
reef
reduce (a sail) by taking in a reef
miniaturise, miniaturize
design or construct on a smaller scale
depopulate, desolate
reduce in population
downsize
make in a smaller size
contract
make smaller
purse, wrinkle
gather or contract into wrinkles or folds; pucker
Type of:
decrease, lessen, minify
make smaller

v take off weight

Synonyms:
lose weight, melt off, slenderize, slim, slim down, thin
Antonyms:
gain, put on
increase (one's body weight)
Types:
sweat off
lose weight by sweating
Type of:
change state, turn
undergo a transformation or a change of position or action

v cut down on; make a reduction in

reduce your daily fat intake”
Synonyms:
bring down, cut, cut back, cut down, trim, trim back, trim down
cut
have a reducing effect
Types:
show 20 types...
hide 20 types...
shorten
make shorter than originally intended; reduce or retrench in length or duration
spill
reduce the pressure of wind on (a sail)
quench
reduce the degree of (luminescence or phosphorescence) in (excited molecules or a material) by adding a suitable substance
retrench
make a reduction, as in one's workforce
slash
cut drastically
thin out
make sparse
thin
make thin or thinner
detract, take away
take away a part from; diminish
deflate
reduce or cut back the amount or availability of, creating a decline in value or prices
inflate
increase the amount or availability of, creating a rise in value
downsize
reduce in size or number
subtract
take off or away
knock off, shave
cut the price of
foreshorten
shorten lines in a drawing so as to create an illusion of depth
clip, curtail, cut short
terminate or abbreviate before its intended or proper end or its full extent
syncopate
omit a sound or letter in a word
cut short, truncate
make shorter as if by cutting off
draw
reduce the diameter of (a wire or metal rod) by pulling it through a die
clip, crop, cut back, dress, lop, prune, snip, trim
cultivate, tend, and cut back the growth of
mark down
reduce the price of
Type of:
decrease, lessen, minify
make smaller

v narrow or limit

reduce the influx of foreigners”
Synonyms:
tighten
Type of:
bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, throttle, trammel
place limits on (extent or access)

v reduce in scope while retaining essential elements

Synonyms:
abbreviate, abridge, contract, cut, foreshorten, shorten
cut, edit, edit out
cut and assemble the components of
Antonyms:
dilate, elaborate, enlarge, expand, expatiate, exposit, expound, flesh out, lucubrate
add details, as to an account or idea; clarify the meaning of and discourse in a learned way, usually in writing
Types:
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
bowdlerise, bowdlerize, castrate, expurgate, shorten
edit by omitting or modifying parts considered indelicate
concentrate, condense, digest
make more concise
capsule, capsulise, capsulize, encapsulate
put in a short or concise form; reduce in volume
telescope
make smaller or shorter
Type of:
decrease, lessen, minify
make smaller

v lessen and make more modest

reduce one's standard of living”
Type of:
impoverish
make poor

v destress and thus weaken a sound when pronouncing it

Types:
obscure
reduce a vowel to a neutral one, such as a schwa
Type of:
de-emphasise, de-emphasize, destress
reduce the emphasis

v lessen the strength or flavor of a solution or mixture

Synonyms:
cut, dilute, thin, thin out
Types:
water down
make less strong or intense
Type of:
weaken
lessen the strength of
2

v make less complex

reduce a problem to a single question”
Types:
abbreviate
shorten
Type of:
simplify
make simpler or easier or reduce in complexity or extent

v be the essential element

Synonyms:
boil down, come down
Type of:
become, turn
undergo a change or development

v simplify the form of a mathematical equation of expression by substituting one term for another

Type of:
exchange, interchange, replace, substitute
put in the place of another; switch seemingly equivalent items
3

v bring to humbler or weaker state or condition

“He reduced the population to slavery”
Type of:
break, bump, demote, kick downstairs, relegate
assign to a lower position; reduce in rank

v lower in grade or rank or force somebody into an undignified situation

“She reduced her niece to a servant”
Type of:
degrade, demean, disgrace, put down, take down
reduce in worth or character, usually verbally

v put down by force or intimidation

Synonyms:
keep down, quash, repress, subdue, subjugate
Type of:
crush, oppress, suppress
come down on or keep down by unjust use of one's authority
4

v cook until very little liquid is left

“The cook reduced the sauce by boiling it for a long time”
Synonyms:
boil down, concentrate
Type of:
decrease, lessen, minify
make smaller

v be cooked until very little liquid is left

“The sauce should reduce to one cup”
Synonyms:
boil down, concentrate, decoct
Type of:
decrease, diminish, fall, lessen
decrease in size, extent, or range
5

v to remove oxygen from a compound, or cause to react with hydrogen or form a hydride, or to undergo an increase in the number of electrons

Synonyms:
deoxidise, deoxidize
Antonyms:
oxidate, oxidise, oxidize
add oxygen to or combine with oxygen
oxidate, oxidise, oxidize
enter into a combination with oxygen or become converted into an oxide
rust
become coated with oxide
show more antonyms...
Types:
benficiate
subject to a reduction process
pole
deoxidize molten metals by stirring them with a wooden pole
Type of:
change
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
6

v undergo meiosis

“The cells reduce
Type of:
divide, part, separate
come apart
7

v reposition (a broken bone after surgery) back to its normal site

Type of:
reposition
place into another position
WORD FAMILY
USAGE EXAMPLES