1

attenuate

verb at·ten·u·ate \ ə-ˈten-yə-ˌwāt , -yü-ˌāt \
Updated on: 6 Apr 2018

Definition of attenuate

attenuated; attenuating
1 : to lessen the amount, force, magnitude, or value of : weaken
  • … shows great skill in the use of language to moderate or attenuate the impact of awkward facts.
  • —Bernard Lewis
2 : to reduce the severity, virulence, or vitality of
  • an attenuated virus
3 : to make thin or slender
  • Glass can be attenuated into fibers.
4 : to make thin in consistency : rarefy
  • attenuate oil by heating it
: to become thin, fine, or less

attenuation

\ə-ˌten-yə-ˈwā-shən, -yü-ˈā-\ noun

attenuate was our Word of the Day on 06/29/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of attenuate in a Sentence

  1. Earplugs will attenuate the loud sounds of the machinery.

  2. an investment attenuated by significant inflation over the years

Recent Examples of attenuate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'attenuate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of attenuate


2

attenuate

adjective at·ten·u·ate \ ə-ˈten-yə-wət , -yü-ət \

Definition of attenuate

1 : reduced especially in thickness, density, or force
  • the attenuate limbs of a starving person
2 : tapering gradually usually to a long slender point
  • attenuate leaves

Origin and Etymology of attenuate

Middle English attenuat, from Latin attenuatus, past participle of attenuare to make thin, from ad- + tenuis thin — more at thin

ATTENUATE Defined for English Language Learners

attenuate

Definition of attenuate for English Language Learners

  • : to make (something) weaker or less in amount, effect, or force


Medical Dictionary

attenuate

transitive verb at·ten·u·ate \ ə-ˈten-yə-ˌwāt \

medical Definition of attenuate

attenuated; attenuating
: to reduce the severity of (a disease) or virulence or vitality of (a pathogenic agent)
  • a procedure to attenuate severe diabetes
  • attenuated bacilli


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up attenuate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to lower or disgrace the reputation of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks Quiz

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!