Etymology: Middle English, to lead back, from Latin reducere, from re- + ducere to lead — more at tow
Date: 14th century
a. to draw together or cause to converge ; consolidate <reduce all the questions to one> b. (1) to diminish in size, amount, extent, or number <reduce taxes> <reduce the likelihood of war> (2) to decrease the volume and concentrate the flavor of by boiling <add the wine and reduce the sauce for two minutes> c. to narrow down ; restrict <the Indians were reduced to small reservations> d. to make shorter ; abridge 2. archaic to restore to righteousness ; save 3. to bring to a specified state or condition <the impact of the movie reduced them to tears> 4. a. to force to capitulate b. force, compel 5. a. to bring to a systematic form or character <reduce natural events to laws> b. to put down in written or printed form <reduce an agreement to writing> 6. to correct (as a fracture) by bringing displaced or broken parts back into their normal positions 7. a. to lower in grade or rank ; demote b. to lower in condition or status ; downgrade 8. a. to diminish in strength or density b. to diminish in value 9. a. (1) to change the denominations or form of without changing the value (2) to construct a geometrical figure similar to but smaller than (a given figure) b. to transpose from one form into another ; convert c. to change (an expression) to an equivalent but more fundamental expression <reduce a fraction> 10. to break down (as by crushing or grinding) ; pulverize 11. a. to bring to the metallic state by removal of nonmetallic elements <reduce an ore by heat> b. deoxidize c. to combine with or subject to the action of hydrogen d. (1) to change (an element or ion) from a higher to a lower oxidation state (2) to add one or more electrons to (an atom or ion or molecule) 12. to change (a stressed vowel) to an unstressed vowel intransitive verb 1. a. (1) to become diminished or lessened; especially to lose weight by dieting (2) to become reduced <ferrous iron reduces to ferric iron> b. to become concentrated or consolidated c. to undergo meiosis 2. to become converted or equated Synonyms: see decrease, conquer • reducer noun • reducibility noun • reducible adjective • reducibly adverb
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.