The word decimate has a grisly etymology. It derives from a Latin military term meaning “to execute every tenth man in an army unit”— the penalty for a failed mutiny. As a result, some sticklers insist that the English word decimate should be used only to indicate “destroying a fraction of something” rather than “destroy completely” or “utterly wipe out.” Who’s right? This is part of a complete episode.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.