From Latin duodecimatus



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    • 1966, Kenneth Frederick Gordon Hosking and Godfrey John Shrimpton [eds.], Present Views of Some Aspects of the Geology of Cornwall and Devon, page 69
      At Penfoot (SX 302833) the upper horizons have yielded…the trilobites Cyrtosymbole (Macrobole) drewerensis and C. (Macrobole) duodecimate.


Etymology 1Edit

From Latin duodecimatus, from duodecim (twelve) + -ātus (-ate)



duodecimate (plural not attested)

  1. (rare) Synonym of duodecimvirate: a group of twelve.
    • 1851, Matthew LaRue Perrine Thompson, The Church, Its Ministry and Worship, page 95
      We affirm, that to all eternity the apostles are to be twelve, among all the redeemed, a conspicuous, glorious, unassociated duodecimate.
    • 1924, The Pharmaceutical Era LIX, page 565
      There was there impanelled to serve as jurors [a] duodecimate of “impartial and unwitting persons”.

Etymology 2Edit

Either from the Latin duodecimō (I take one twelfth) or an alteration of the Latin duodecimus (twelfth) by analogy with decimate.



duodecimate (past participle duodecimated)

  1. (rare, attested in the past participle only) Kill one twelfth of a group of people, especially by lot.
    • 1868, Sydney Punch VIII, page 93
      The French squadron…opened fire at a distance far beyond the range of our rifles, and the carnage in our ranks was fearful. We were being gradually duodecimated.
    • 1974, Jean d’Ormesson, The Glory of the Empire, page 298
      The barbarians were duodecimated — i.e., one out of every twelve was beheaded.
    • 2009, Tom McMorrow, Having Fun With Words of Wit and Wisdom, page 75
      If they had duodecimated a legion…rather than…decimate them…, two [fewer] guys per unit would have had to be killed.
  2. (rare, attested in the past participle only) Divide into twelfths; divide duodecimally.
    • 1899, Current Literature XXV, page 116
      He has duodecimated his difficulties by choosing twelve boy “heroes.”
    • 1928, Sir John Collings Squire and Rolfe Arnold Scott-James, The London Mercury XVIII, page 446
      Already [Sir James Frazer] has epitomized, and so to speak, duodecimated, the Golden Bough, while Lady Frazer has culled a florilegium from his works.
Coordinate termsEdit