Here is a context clues worksheet the verb decimate. It’s used transitively, and most frequently, strictly speaking, erroneously. It’s from the Latin (nota bene the Latin root dec, which means ten, and shows up in words like decade and decimal–a form of counting that proceeds in units of ten) and means, in its definition from Ancient Rome, where it was a means of disciplining Legions, “to select by lot and kill every tenth man of.” However, over time, it has come to mean “to reduce drastically especially in number” and “to cause great destruction or harm to.”
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