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DECIMATION. The punishment of every tenth soldier by lot, was, among the Romans, called decimation.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The sub-editor responsible raised the following question: Does to decimate mean to annihilate?
Direct military action would decimate the Korean Peninsula - millions would perish as nuclear fallout would not be restricted to Korean borders.
He said: "A vote to leave the EU has the potential to decimate the British food industry.
It's basically a very simple game during which the word 'decimate' is shouted loudly in a booming voice at two minute intervals.
And will an eventual drop in oil prices decimate local economies?
| Rhondda Cynon Taf leader Anthony Christopher is warning cuts will decimate public services in the authority
The evidence provided after his arrest in 2003 helped decimate the once-fearsome Bonanno organised crime family, Greg Andres, assistant US attorney,said.
And can commentators refrain from the misuse of the word "decimate" when describing the cuts?
Although these high-energy flashes of light--the most energetic outbursts in the universe--could decimate life in an instant, they're unlikely to occur in the Milky Way, two studies conclude.
They discover an old Indowy weapon that could decimate the galaxy and Kadar San wants it destroyed.