Decimation, the selection of the 10th man of a corps of soldiers by lot for punishment, practised by the Romans. Sometimes every 10th man was executed; sometimes only one man of each company, the 10th in order. The term is frequently used in a loose way for the destruction of a great but indefinite proportion of people.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

Dec`i*ma"tion (?), n. [L. decimatio: cf. F. d'ecimation.]


A tithing.


State Trials (1630).


A selection of every tenth person by lot, as for punishment.



The destruction of any large proportion, as of people by pestilence or war.



© Webster 1913.

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