Definition and background:
A directive to a performer to smoothly decrease the volume of the specific passage of a composition. This can be designated with the word diminuendo at the beginning of the passage or with the "hair pin" symbol consisting of two horizontal lines that start apart at the left and come together to a point at the right. There is typically a dynamic mark at either end of the symbol indicating the desired volume before and after the diminuendo. This is often seen in its abbreviated forms dim. or dimin. This term is functionally the same as decrescendo and its abbreviation decresc. See also decrescendo; decresc. ; diminuendo; dim. ; dimin. Italian. (dim.) Gradually softer. Also decrescendo. A gradual decrease in volume. Can be extended in the same manner as crescendo.
Italian. (dim.) Gradually softer
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary