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On Mon, Aug 06, 2018 at 08:33:51AM -0700, Ken Hiebert via Marxism wrote:
> 
> A point of English usage
> Am I hopelessly out of date if I remind readers (and writers) that
> decimate means to kill one in ten, not eight in ten?
>                       ken h

Sadly, you are correct but it seems hopeless to educate people.

From https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/decimate:

verb
[with object]

    1 Kill, destroy, or remove a large proportion of.
    ‘the inhabitants of the country had been decimated’

    1.1 Drastically reduce the strength or effectiveness of (something)
    ‘public transport has been decimated’

    2 historical Kill one in every ten of (a group of people, originally
    a mutinous Roman legion) as a punishment for the whole group.
    ‘the man who is to determine whether it be necessary to decimate a
    large body of mutineers’

Usage

    Historically, the meaning of the word decimate is ‘kill one in every
    ten of (a group of people)’. This sense has been more or less
    totally superseded by the later, more general sense ‘kill, destroy,
    or remove a large proportion of’, as in the virus has decimated the
    population. Some traditionalists argue that this is incorrect, but
    it is clear that it is now part of standard English

Origin

    Late Middle English: from Latin decimat- ‘taken as a tenth’, from
    the verb decimare, from decimus ‘tenth’. In Middle English the
    term decimation denoted the levying of a tithe, and later the tax
    imposed by Cromwell on the Royalists (1655).

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