diminish

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diminishing returns

1. In economics, a yield rate (i.e., of profits, production, benefits, etc.) that fails to grow in proportion to the amount of investment, skill, time, or effort that is added. The restaurant, to combat high volumes of customers, hired a large surplus of wait staff and cooks. This led to diminishing returns, however, as the overcrowded staff was far less efficient and eventually cost the restaurant more in wages than it was earning.
2. By extension, any output or results (e.g., of a product, project, organization, etc.) that fail to increase proportionally to additional time, money, skill, or effort. Unfortunately, the show's charm has not lasted, and the infusion of zanier plots has created diminishing returns in terms of quality.
See also: diminish, return

the law of diminishing returns

1. In economics, the law that a yield rate (i.e., of profits, production, benefits, etc.) will eventually fail to grow in proportion to the amount of investment, skill, time, or effort that is added. The restaurant, to combat high volumes of customers, hired a large surplus of wait staff and cooks. The law of diminishing returns kicked in, however, as the overcrowded staff was far less efficient and eventually cost the restaurant more in wages than it was earning.
2. By extension, the idea that any output or results (e.g., of a product, project, organization, etc.) will eventually begin to fail increasing proportionally to additional time, money, skill, or effort. Unfortunately, the show's charm has not lasted, with increasingly zany plots and more characters than one can keep track of. That's just the law of diminishing returns, unfortunately. Schools feel like they have to pile on homework so students meet increasingly high targets for standardized tests, but then you rub up against the law of diminishing returns, because students can only handle so much work before they begin to burn out and perform poorly anyway.
See also: diminish, law, of, return
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the law of diminishing returns

used to refer to the point at which the level of profits or benefits to be gained is reduced to less than the amount of money or energy invested.
This expression originated in the early 19th century with reference to the profits from agriculture.
See also: diminish, law, of, return
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
In addition to the superior efficiency and outcomes attainable from the greater volume and frequency with which complex procedures are conducted, single-specialty group practice diminishes the conflicts inherent in multi-specialty practices.
This finding suggests that in some cases the paranoia diminishes for psychological reasons rather than because of the drug's action.
In some profound way, the orderliness of Stevens' routines and relationships have become a safe haven to which he retreats from the messiness and ambiguity of life--a retreat that diminishes him as a person.
The ruling outlined three fact patterns, in which the IRS assumed that (1) an inverse relationship exists between the value of the underlying equity and that of each option position; (2) because of the inverse relationships, each option position substantially diminishes the risk of holding the equity; (3) the acquisition of the put option substantially diminishes the risk of loss for the combined position, consisting of the equity and the QC on that equity; and (4) the call option is a QC under Sec.
For example, we are taught that as we age, our sense of taste diminishes. Does it, necessarily?
Scientists studying cardiac nerves have taken an important step toward explaining why aging diminishes the heart's ability to pump harder and faster under exertion.
In general, therefore, a taxpayer who owns stock in a company, and also holds an option that substantially diminishes his risk of loss on that stock, is subject to the straddle rules.
This trait is somewhat similar to thebehavior of humans, in that the human capacity to learn languages diminishes considerably after puberty.