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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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Everywhere else we are seeing diminishment of demand," he said.
The water-holding capacity of the insoluble portion of muscle decreased by up to 58% in the presence of calcium, ostensibly due to the diminishment of pyrophosphate from precipitation.
The narrative of recent months has been a gradual diminishment of growth expectations.
In his introductory essay Stillman discusses the deep roots of Jews in the Islamic world, the diminishment of the population since the mid-20th century, academic neglect, and the need for this encyclopedia devoted to the "history, languages, literatures, and culture of the Jews from this region and to their contemporary diasporas.
The incident ultimately seems to have accelerated the diminishment of role of the revolving Presidency.
The European interpretation has been the source of diminishment for Indigenous peoples by virtue of the fact it creates itself as the norm and everybody else as subordinate to the norm," said Battiste.
6% of front-end sales, with customers showing no diminishment in appetite for what is now a family of brands.
The world depression showed the competitiveness gap, contributing to the diminishment of exports, and the repercussions was felt strongly at the level of production and labor market.
That's why their continuing diminishment is of such vital concern.
Poignantly enough, it was the acts of cartographic encounter and collaboration that often laid the seeds for the demise or diminishment of any number of indigenous peoples.
The decline for the second straight month was also blamed on diminishment of benefits stemming from the introduction of ''taspo'' smart cards, which are designed to prevent minors from buying cigarettes from vending machines, the Japan Franchise Association said.
Afterward, she reported that she definitely noticed a diminishment of short-term memory once she stopped taking the product.
Rather, the point of the article was that in generally accepted appraisal theory, there is frequently an association between costs of repair and diminishment of value.
The social unit has changed--the Protestant Reformation configuration of the nuclear family is not dominant now We've gone from hierarchy to globalized networking, from the growth of the middle class to the diminishment of the middle class.
Today, Scott lives in Florida, with no diminishment of his passion: "The future was so uncertain at the time Kent was diagnosed.