I believe the phrase "diminished times" is a common expression or cliche, maybe a quotation, but I haven't been able to find the source. Is it a cliche, and where does it come from?

P.S. After @aparente001 posted his or her answer, I found this example from a 5/11/2000 post by Andrew McLaren to the newsgroup uk.culture.language.english:

Even in these diminished times, Brazil produces something like 2/3s of the world's coffee, [down] from 80% a few decades ago.

  • 1
    Worth pointing out that I've never encountered this phrase (AmE speaker).
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 14, 2015 at 11:53
  • @DanBron - Same here! Aug 14, 2015 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


I did a google search over various time periods, and the first use of the phrase “these diminished times” that I could find is http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94932049 from 2008.

However, just "diminished times" appeared earlier.

2002: http://www2.latech.edu/~bmagee/212/pound/pact_notes.htm

2004: http://homepage.tinet.ie/~odyssey/Politics/Quotes/Steyn_Terror.html

Sorry I don't have a better answer.

  • +1 and thanks. On second thought "these" isn't important so I'll edit my question accordingly. I would have expected something earlier than 2002. Is it only in the last dozen years that the times have diminished so much?
    – bof
    Aug 14, 2015 at 7:07
  • @bof - You can have some fun putting custom time ranges into your google search. Aug 14, 2015 at 16:47
  • I found an example from 2000. I'll edit it into my question.
    – bof
    Aug 14, 2015 at 23:36

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