at·​ten·​u·​at·​ed ə-ˈten-yə-ˌwā-təd How to pronounce attenuated (audio)
: lessened or weakened (as in amount, force, or magnitude)
"It wasn't that there was less effect, or an attenuated effect. There was no effect at all."Roger Simon
… people who are not, even in Facebook's attenuated sense of the word, your "friends" …Robert Wright
But I am aware that my connection to Russia is an attenuated connection. I do not know Russian or Russia as well as my parents did.Keith Gessen
The attenuated [radio] signals from Phoenix and LA were too scratchy to enjoy.A. E. Maxwell
medical : being or containing a pathogenic agent that has been altered to be of greatly reduced virulence
Measles vaccines are just that, weakened (or attenuated) measles viruses.Ann Finkbeiner et al.
Influenza viruses for both the inactivated and live attenuated influenza vaccines are initially grown in embryonated hens' eggs.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
: long and slender from or as if from having been stretched
Glass artist Lino Tagliapietra, who is widely known for his elegant, attenuated glass vessels …Steven Litt
… the glamorous women … appear impossibly graceful with their attenuated figures, long necks, and slender arms.Stephanie L. Herdrich

Did you know?

A friendship can become attenuated if neither person bothers to keep in touch. Radio waves can become attenuated by the shape of the landscape, by foliage, by atmospheric conditions, and simply by distance. Factory workers and rock musicians often use noise-attenuating ear plugs to save their hearing. To attenuate something isn't to stop it, just to tone it down.

Examples of attenuated in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web So, in certain cases, people are being asked to wait two weeks if they were vaccinated with a certain type of Covid-19 vaccine - a live attenuated vaccine. Victoria Forster, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 The six spires of the Salt Lake Temple give it an attenuated look. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 20 Jan. 2024 South of those rivers, the Everglades extends from coast to coast, forming a shallow 60-mile-wide and 100-mile-long attenuated river running into Florida Bay. Michael Adno, Rolling Stone, 7 Jan. 2024 Like live attenuated vaccines, this process fosters the development of strong immune responses that may build better protection. David Verhoeven, The Conversation, 17 May 2023 Those vaccine drops contain an attenuated version of the virus. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, 25 July 2022 In contrast to live attenuated viruses, mRNA vaccines cannot revert to a pathogenic form or mix with circulating pathogens. David Verhoeven, The Conversation, 17 May 2023 But usually, there’s damage, and signals are able to get through but often very attenuated, very weak. IEEE Spectrum, 27 Mar. 2023 Sometimes public funding makes an indirect or attenuated contribution to a drug’s invention, say through public funding of basic scientific research. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'attenuated.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1798, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of attenuated was in 1798

Dictionary Entries Near attenuated

Cite this Entry

“Attenuated.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

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