Definition of reduce in English:

reduce

Line breaks: re¦duce
Pronunciation: /rɪˈdjuːs
 
, rɪˈdʒuːs/

verb

[with object]
1Make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size: the need for businesses to reduce costs the workforce has been reduced to some 6,100
More example sentences
  • A new one-piece case also reduces size and cost.
  • This drastically reduces the cost and size of a tunable solution to the system vendor.
  • It is not surprising that Europeans are prepared to pay a considerable amount to reduce the risk of such a change.
Synonyms
lessen, make less, make smaller, lower, bring down, decrease, turn down, diminish, take the edge off, minimize; shrink, narrow, contract, shorten, foreshorten, truncate, taper, close, abbreviate, condense, concentrate, abridge; deplete, axe, cut, cut back/down, make cutbacks in, scale down, trim, slim (down), prune, chop, curtail, limit; moderate, lighten, ease, dilute, mitigate, commute, qualify, alleviate, relax, abate; Financeamortizemake cheaper, lower the price of, lower/cut in price, cheapen, cut, mark down, discount, put on sale, offer at a giveaway price
informal slash, knock down
1.1 [no object] Become smaller or less in size, amount, or degree: the number of priority homeless cases has reduced slightly
More example sentences
  • At the same time the number of senior managers has slightly reduced.
  • The report says that the amount of summertime rain will increase by 20% in the west while slightly reducing in the east.
  • By the 14th treatment, the hand swelling had slightly reduced.
1.2Boil (a sauce or other liquid) in cooking so that it becomes thicker and more concentrated: increase the heat and reduce the liquid
More example sentences
  • She reduced the cooking liquid in a saucepan and added more white wine and spices before serving.
  • Next, take out the lobsters, keep them warm and reduce the cooking liquid.
  • Remove onions and set aside; reduce cooking liquid to a light syrup consistency.
1.3 [no object] chiefly North American (Of a person) lose weight, typically by dieting: by May she had reduced to 9 stone
More example sentences
  • Respondents were asked to name reasons why patients had not reduced, if they had not done so.
1.4 Photography Make (a negative or print) less dense.
More example sentences
  • I have noted that the print is reduced considerably during this washing process, but usually regains its full tonal range in the fix.
1.5 Phonetics Articulate (a speech sound) in a way requiring less muscular effort, giving rise in vowels to a more central articulatory position.
2 (reduce someone/thing to) Bring someone or something to (a worse or less desirable state or condition): she has been reduced to near poverty the church was reduced to rubble
More example sentences
  • A large part of the Paradise Hotel was reduced to rubble and the rest was reduced to a smouldering shell.
  • They'd be reduced to blubbering babies, begging for their lives.
  • Their houses, shops and factories were reduced to ashes.
Synonyms
2.1 (be reduced to doing something) Be forced by difficult circumstances into doing something desperate: ordinary soldiers are reduced to begging
More example sentences
  • She and her sister stayed in Moscow where they were reduced to burning books for warmth.
  • Yet the group failed to produce any biological agent, and were reduced to poking bags with umbrellas to disseminate the sarin gas they were able to make.
  • After Owen's long-range gem, Patrik Berger struck from similar distance and Boro were reduced to chasing shadows from then on.
2.2Make someone helpless with (shock, anguish, or amusement): Olga was reduced to stunned silence
More example sentences
  • Hardened Royal Marines were reduced to tears yesterday as the funeral of Yorkshire war hero Christopher Maddison was held with full military honours.
  • It had a shattering effect on those present and men and women, who normally take the dangers of racing in their stride, were reduced to tears.
  • At special test screenings, seven out of ten viewers were reduced to tears by the poignant, but simple messages portrayed in the film.
2.3Force someone into (obedience or submission): he reduced his grandees to due obedience
3 (reduce something to) Change a substance to (a different or more basic form): it is difficult to understand how lava could have been reduced to dust
More example sentences
  • Next, days-old worker bees beat their wings to ventilate the open honeycombs, in order to reduce the substance to a purer sugar.
  • Alkaline hydrolysis or tissue digestion works by breaking apart the chemical bonds that hold proteins together, reducing them to their basic components.
3.1Present a problem or subject in (a simplified form): he reduces unimaginable statistics to manageable proportions
More example sentences
  • Most science involves taking a large subject and reducing it to ever smaller, more precise questions.
  • He believes that he's forced to simplify and reduce facts to single statements.
  • His designs reduced a natural subject to its essentials.
3.2Convert a fraction to (the form with the lowest terms).
More example sentences
  • There is no need to reduce the proper fractions to their lowest forms - Euclid's algorithm will still give the correct CF.
  • But Zu would know how to reduce fractions to their lowest terms by dividing top and bottom by the greatest common divisor.
4 Chemistry Cause to combine chemically with hydrogen: hydrogen for reducing the carbon dioxide
4.1Undergo or cause to undergo a reaction in which electrons are gained from another substance or molecule: [no object]: this compound reduces to potassium chloride [with object]: the arsenic is reduced to the trivalent condition The opposite of oxidize.
More example sentences
  • Likewise, when an atom is reduced, it gains an electron and becomes more negative.
  • Reactions in which atoms of the same element are both oxidized and reduced are disproportionation reactions.
  • During these reactions, the molecule that donates the electron is oxidized and the molecule that accepts the electron is reduced.
5Restore (a dislocated part of the body) to its proper position by manipulation or surgery: Joe’s reducing a dislocated thumb
More example sentences
  • The dislocation is reduced at the hospital in Taos, but there are so many broken bones that I'll need surgery.
  • Kocher's manoeuvre was attempted to reduce the dislocation.
  • The dislocation should be reduced as soon as possible.
6 archaic Besiege and capture (a town or fortress).
More example sentences
  • Fortresses were redesigned to take advantage of the defensive potential of modern firearms and techniques for besieging and reducing fortresses were refined.
  • Further, he set aside the likelihood that siege guns and time would reduce the fortress.
  • A couple of weeks was spent reducing the last major fortress to the south of Antioch, then Raymond led the army southward on 13 January 1099.

Origin

late Middle English: from Latin reducere, from re- 'back, again' + ducere 'bring, lead'. The original sense was 'bring back' (hence 'restore', now surviving in sense 5); this led to 'bring to a different state', then 'bring to a simpler or lower state' (hence sense 3); and finally 'diminish in size or amount' (sense 1, dating from the late 18th century).

Phrases

reduced circumstances

Used euphemistically to refer to the state of being poor after being relatively wealthy: a divorcee living in reduced circumstances
More example sentences
  • It is a fact of life that the death of a husband or wife results in reduced circumstances for the surviving partner.
  • Despite his seemingly reduced circumstances, Reid was still able to spend almost 3000 on a round-trip ticket from Paris via Miami and Antigua.
  • Having taken advantage of increased funding to become a full-time athlete, he now finds his reduced circumstances and changing priorities have affected his thinking.
Synonyms
impoverished, in straitened circumstances, ruined, bankrupt, bankrupted, bust, insolvent; poor, indigent, penurious, impecunious, in penury, moneyless, without a sou, as poor as a church mouse, poverty-stricken, destitute, necessitous; needy, in need/want, badly off, hard up, on one's beam-ends, unable to make ends meet, underprivileged; Britishon the breadline, without a penny (to one's name)
informal broke, flat broke, cleaned out, strapped for cash, strapped, on one's uppers
British informal stony broke, skint, without two pennies/(brass) farthings to rub together, in Queer Street
North American informal stone broke
rare pauperized, beggared

reduce someone to the ranks

Demote a non-commissioned officer to an ordinary soldier: the platoon consisted of ex-NCOs who had been reduced to the ranks for various offences
Synonyms
demote, downgrade, lower, lower in rank/status; abase, humble, demean, belittle, humiliate, bring low
North American informal bust

Derivatives

reducer

noun
More example sentences
  • The environmental noise reducer is aimed at industry as well as individuals and the industrial version, for use in factories, could cost £10,000.
  • In addition, some water reducers increase air content.
  • The most effective combinations include at least two antibiotics plus the acid reducers.

Definition of reduce in:

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