Decimate: the real meaning

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Fri Jan 11 03:19:53 UTC 2008

is "to screw up"

The Daily News (New York) January 10, 2008, p. 4 of the KSI supplement (Kings Co/Staten Island) has a story on a perp who has been sentenced for a murder in the course of a robbery; his sentence is (quoting):

a fitting punishment for decimating "a lot of people's lives," a Queens judge said.

"Decimating" seems to be the word choice of Nicole Bode, the reporter, not that of the judge.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

The American Dialect Society -

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