Contemporary example of DECIMATE

Chris Kern chriskern99 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 9 14:58:55 UTC 2008

Recently I came across a contemporary, completely unambiguous example of
"decimate" used to mean "destroy one in ten".  It's in the book _Battle of
Corrin_ by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.  The context is a form of
faster-than-light spacetravel that is unreliable enough to result in the
loss of 1 in 10 ships that try to travel by this method.  A large fleet of
such ships is travelling around the galaxy, and the inventor of the
technology thinks:

"Since she had never adequately solved the spacefolder navigation problem,
many soldiers were losing their lives. Each time the battle groups jumped
from one target to the next, their numbers were decimated. And decimated
again before they reached the next target. Oh, the incredible cost!"

This is the first such example I can ever recall seeing.


The American Dialect Society -

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