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.]

1.

A tithing.

[Obs.]

State Trials (1630).

2.

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

Shak.

3.

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

Milman.

 

© Webster 1913.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.