Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act or process of diminishing; a lessening or reduction.
  • n. The resulting reduction; decrease.
  • n. Music Statement of a theme in notes of lesser duration, usually one-half, of the original.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lessening, decrease or reduction.
  • n. The shortening of the notes of a melody or theme.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of diminishing, or of making or becoming less; state of being diminished; reduction in size, quantity, or degree; -- opposed to augmentation or increase.
  • n. The act of lessening dignity or consideration, or the state of being deprived of dignity; a lowering in estimation; degradation; abasement.
  • n. Omission, inaccuracy, or defect in a record.
  • n. In counterpoint, the imitation of, or reply to, a subject, in notes of half the length or value of those the subject itself.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of diminishing, lessening, or reducing; a making smaller; a lowering in amount, value, dignity, estimation, etc.: as, the diminution of wealth, of importance, of power.
  • n. The process of becoming less: as, the apparent diminution of a receding body; the diminution of the velocity of a projectile.
  • n. In music, the repetition or imitation of a subject or theme in notes having one half or one quarter the duration of those first used: a favorite device in contrapuntal composition. See canon, counterpoint, and imitation.
  • n. In law, an omission in the record of a case sent up from an inferior court to the court of review.
  • n. In heraldry, differencing, especially that kind of differencing called cadency.
  • n. In architecture, the gradual decrease in the diameter of the shaft of a column from the base to the capital.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the act of decreasing or reducing something
  • n. change toward something smaller or lower
  • n. the statement of a theme in notes of lesser duration (usually half the length of the original)

Etymologies

Middle English diminucioun, from Old French diminution, from Latin dīminūtiō, dīminūtiōn-, from dīminūtus, past participle of dīminuere; see diminish.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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