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I'm wondering if there is a word that means to 'multiply by ten'.

I'm curious based on my interest in the word decimate, which used to mean to remove a tenth of something.

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    @JimiOke - Actually, the word means "kill 10%". – Hot Licks Mar 12 '15 at 12:24
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    @MrLister: We definitely don't have to split hairs here, but taking a tenth of something essentially implies a division of sorts (not literal but a division nonetheless in the mathematical sense)... – Jimi Oke Mar 12 '15 at 16:37
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    @JimiOke: Then don't split hairs. The division you're talking about is division but 10/9. No one in a linguistic context would call that "division of sorts" even if it's mathematically true. Does the verb "to double" imply "a division of sorts" (by 0.5)? Does "to leave unchanged" imply a division by 1? – ThePopMachine Mar 12 '15 at 16:54
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    @ThePopMachine Since you want to split hairs: In order to remove a 10th of something, you need to determine how much that is. This requires division. – DCShannon Mar 12 '15 at 20:07
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    @DCShannon: You count to ten. Then push that individual off the cliff. Continue, restarting counting from one. – Henry Mar 12 '15 at 21:01
55

That word is decuple (Collins Dictionary):

verb

(transitive) to increase by ten times

It can also be used as a noun or adjective.

  • 14
    Problem is, it sounds like "de-couple". Not that we can do anything about it. – o0'. Mar 12 '15 at 9:55
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    While this is true; this word is extremely uncommon in use to the extent that I think it unlikely that the asker's audience would understand the meaning. – Jack Aidley Mar 12 '15 at 11:41
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    @JackAidley: To be fair the OP provided no context, simply asking for a word that meant multiply by ten, hence my answer. Of course this is an obscure word I've never heard or seen in writing! – Jimi Oke Mar 12 '15 at 14:24
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    @Lohoris: Actually the stress is on the first syllable (as in decimal or quadruple), so it really doesn't quite sound like decouple :) – Jimi Oke Mar 12 '15 at 14:26
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    @JimiOke In my experience (American English), the stress in quadruple, quintuple, etc., is on the second syllable. However, arguably this word should be pronounced "deh-COO-pull", rather than "dee-CUP-uhl." – Chris Sunami Mar 12 '15 at 17:12
58

I think that the word you may be looking for could be tenfold. According to Collins (http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/tenfold):

adjective:

  1. equal to or having 10 times as many or as much ⇒ "a tenfold increase in population"

  2. composed of 10 parts

adverb:

  1. by or up to 10 times as many or as much ⇒ "the population increased tenfold"

Regarding the etimology, according to Etymonline (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=tenfold):

tenfold (adj.) Old English tienfeald; see ten + -fold. As an adverb in modern use from 1530s.

And also from Etymonline (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=-fold&allowed_in_frame=0):

-fold Multiplicative word-forming element attached to numerals, from Old English -feald, Northumbrian -fald, from Proto-Germanic *-falthaz (cognates: Old Saxon -fald, Old Frisian -fald, Old Norse -faldr, Dutch -voud, German -falt, Gothic falþs), comb. form of *falthan, from PIE *polt-, extended form of root *pel- (3) "to fold" (cognates: Greek -paltos, -plos; Latin -plus; see fold (v.)). Native words with it have been crowded out by Latinate double, triple, etc., but it persists in manifold, hundredfold, etc.

Some examples of use:

"The annual crop of wheat in the regency, is estimated at 7,200,000 bushels and with the proper cultivation might be tenfolded"

From "A compendious and complete system of modern geography: or, A view of the world" by Jeddediah Morse (1812)

Another example of use:

"It is nice to dream about tenfolding one's money in a year and a half"

From "The Zurich Axioms" by Max Gunther (2005)

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    From Late Latin decuplus (“tenfold”), from Latin decem (“ten”), and plico (“fold”). English is flexible, so it could be verbed; +1. – Cees Timmerman Mar 12 '15 at 10:51
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    I'm not sure that's the word the OP was looking for, plus tenfold is not quite a verb. (By the way I didn't downvote this answer!) – Jimi Oke Mar 12 '15 at 14:28
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    @CeesTimmerman: I agree English is flexible... but tenfold used as a transitive verb might immediately conjure up the image of folding something ten times over or in ten places (which is also essentially a form of multiplication but not in the expected sense)! – Jimi Oke Mar 12 '15 at 18:02
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    @JimiOke Apologies, I missed that – DoubleDouble Mar 12 '15 at 19:46
  • @DoubleDouble: no worries. I'm also prone to arguing for better or worse. But this question has sparked so many spirited conversations! – Jimi Oke Mar 12 '15 at 21:55
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Increase by an order of magnitude

In plain English, if you multiply something by 10, you have increased its order of magnitude by one.

More technically, when using the base 10 number system, all numbers can be written in exponential form, such as 1.984 x 103, and if you multiply by ten you merely increment the exponent by one: 1.984 x 104. Therefore, the order of magnitude is dependent on your base and on whether your scale is linear, logarithmic, or something else.

Decimate

Decimate is currently shifting its meaning. The original sense of the word was to kill 10% of a group of people. Mercifully, that practice was almost completely abandoned 2000 years ago. Therefore, most people use the word to mean "great destruction."

Decrease by an order of magnitude

In plain English, to divide something by ten is to decrease it by an order of magnitude.

  • 6
    You say that decimation (meaning the killing of every tenth soldier if a battle was lost) was 'almost completely abandoned 2000 years ago). It may surprise you to know that in WW One, the Italian army, fighting on the Allied side engaged just such a practice after losing battles with the Austrian army. – WS2 Mar 12 '15 at 9:48
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    I would suggest that the word "decimate" has already shifted its meaning, except in instances when someone wishes to appear smarter than someone else and correct them to a historical and outdated meaning. You could argue that even modern instances of the practice, as given in the example from @WS2, it would be just as appropriate to substitute "decimation" with "devastating punishment" - the devastation being the key element that is shared between the ancient and modern contexts for the word. – Jason Mar 12 '15 at 13:50
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    Note that order of magnitude only works in base-10 number systems. For example, if a culture or system uses a base-8 number system then an order of magnitude is 8 times, not 10 times. This is unlikely to be an issue, but it's still worth considering. – talrnu Mar 12 '15 at 16:15
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    Well, I meant that the first explanation of "order of magnitude" was written in plain English while the second explanation was more technical. True, "tenfold" is less complicated than order of magnitude, but 1) order of magnitude is used commonly enough that it is wise to know its meaning, and 2) it is possible to say, "increased by eight orders of magnitude," but the equivalent of tenfold would be one-hundred-billion-fold. Therefore, order of magnitude is a more useful phrase for expressing dramatic increases or decreases of any size in both linear and logarithmic scales. – hunterhogan Mar 12 '15 at 18:35
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    @talmu... True...but in a base-8 number system, they're going to write "8" as "10", so the answer to the question is still the same. An order of magnitude in base-8 is still written as "10". cowbirdsinlove.com/43 – Beska Mar 15 '15 at 19:04
16

The single word meaning "multiply by ten" is decuple (it's like "triple" or "quadruple", but much rarer).

intr. & tr.v To multiply or be multiplied by ten.

Etymology:

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin decuplus : Latin decem, ten; see dekm̥ in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + Latin -plus, -fold; see pel-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

(American Heritage Dictionary)

As noted in the commments beneath Jimi Oke's answer, this word has various pronunciations:

  • "DECK-yuple" (given by the AHD), i.e. something like /ˈdɛkjʊpl̩/, /ˈdɛkjəpl̩/, /ˈdɛkjupl̩/
  • "de-KYOO-ple", i.e. something like /dɪˈkjupl̩/
  • "de-CUP-ple", i.e. something like /dɪˈkʌpl̩/

I wrote an answer about the pronunciation of "tuple" that explains some of the reasons why.

1

Another Mathematical term is denary(ˈdiːnərɪ) adj ≡tenfold, ten-fold

  1. (Mathematics) calculated by tens; based on ten;
  2. containing ten parts; tenfold
    1. numbered or proceeding by tens

(vocabulary.com/TFD)

  • That's only an adjective, though, and "denarize" might be confused with "binarize" (make binary) as in make base 10 instead of multiply by 10. – Cees Timmerman Mar 13 '15 at 8:56
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    "denary" actually means the number is in base 10, not to multiply by 10, just like binary doesn't mean to multiply by 2 – algiogia Mar 13 '15 at 11:37

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