Decimation is the near-total destruction of a group, like the decimation of your brother's fish when you accidentally overfeed them. Rest in peace, little fishies.

Decimation implies that nearly all of a population has been destroyed or killed. You might be angry about the decimation of the rainforest in a region of South America or the decimation of the coral in a reef where you'd hoped to snorkel some day. This noun comes from a Late Latin root, decimationem, which means "removal of a tenth." In ancient Rome, decimation was a military punishment that involved killing one out of every ten soldiers.

Definitions of decimation

n destroying or killing a large part of the population (literally every tenth person as chosen by lot)

Type of:
destruction, devastation
the termination of something by causing so much damage to it that it cannot be repaired or no longer exists

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