1

attenuate

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

Definition of attenuate

  1. 1 :  reduced especially in thickness, density, or force

  2. 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


First Known Use: 15th century


2

attenuate

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verb at·ten·u·ate \ə-ˈten-yə-ˌwāt, -yü-ˌāt\

Definition of attenuate

attenuated

attenuating

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make thin or slender

  3. 2 :  to make thin in consistency :  rarefy

  4. 3 :  to lessen the amount, force, magnitude, or value of :  weaken

  5. 4 :  to reduce the severity, virulence, or vitality of <an attenuated virus>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to become thin, fine, or less

attenuation

play \-ˌten-yə-ˈwā-shən, -yü-ˈā-\ noun

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>

Did You Know?

Attenuate ultimately comes from a combination of the Latin prefix ad-, meaning "to" or "toward," and tenuis, meaning "thin." It has been on the medical scene since the 16th century, when a health treatise recommended eating dried figs to attenuate bodily fluids. That treatment might be outmoded nowadays, but attenuate is still used in medicine to refer to procedures that weaken a pathogen or reduce the severity of a disease. Most often, though, attenuate implies that something has been reduced or weakened by physical or chemical means. You can attenuate wire by drawing it through successively smaller holes, or attenuate gold by hammering it into thin sheets. You can even attenuate the momentum of a play by including too many costume changes.

1530

First Known Use of attenuate

1530


ATTENUATE Defined for English Language Learners


2

attenuate

play
verb at·ten·u·ate \ə-ˈten-yə-ˌwāt, -yü-ˌāt\

Definition of attenuate for English Language Learners

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


Medical Dictionary

attenuate

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

Medical Definition of attenuate

attenuated

;

attenuating

  1. :  to reduce the severity of (a disease) or virulence or vitality of (a pathogenic agent) <a procedure to attenuate severe diabetes> <attenuated bacilli>


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