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attenuate

[verb uh-ten-yoo-eyt; adjective uh-ten-yoo-it, -eyt] /verb əˈtɛn yuˌeɪt; adjective əˈtɛn yu ɪt, -ˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), attenuated, attenuating.
1.
to weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value:
to attenuate desire.
2.
to make thin; make slender or fine.
3.
Bacteriology, Immunology. to render less virulent, as a strain of pathogenic virus or bacterium.
4.
Electronics. to decrease the amplitude of (an electronic signal).
verb (used without object), attenuated, attenuating.
5.
to become thin or fine; lessen.
adjective
6.
weakened; diminishing.
7.
Botany. tapering gradually to a narrow extremity.
Origin of attenuate
1520-1530
First recorded in 1520-30, attenuate is from the Latin word attenuātus (past participle of attenuāre to thin, reduce). See at-, tenuis, -ate1
Related forms
overattenuate, verb (used with object), overattenuated, overattenuating.
subattenuate, adjective
subattenuated, adjective
unattenuated, adjective
unattenuatedly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for attenuate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Venetian shutters often had to be lowered in the summer to attenuate the great heat.

  • It will attenuate, at least with respect to him, the severity of simple minds.

    Cosmopolis, Complete Paul Bourget
  • I shall not attempt to laugh off the question, or to attenuate its importance.

    Chapter of Autobiography W E Gladstone
  • It does not attenuate the power and originality of his themes that they are essentially of the piano.

    Unicorns James Huneker
  • It would not have been difficult to attenuate the coincidence.

    Play-Making William Archer
  • Indeed, he seemed to be trying to attenuate that when he spoke next.

    The Wild Olive Basil King
  • Neither were they distant; they were close to me, but attenuate.

    Lilith George MacDonald
  • Pitt was right in his facts; but etiquette required that he should withdraw or at least attenuate his charge.

    William Pitt and the Great War John Holland Rose
  • How much does it attenuate the value of his intentions, as proofs of an internal philosophical sequence?

British Dictionary definitions for attenuate

attenuate

verb (əˈtɛnjʊˌeɪt)
1.
to weaken or become weak; reduce in size, strength, density, or value
2.
to make or become thin or fine; extend
3.
(transitive) to make (a pathogenic bacterium, virus, etc) less virulent, as by culture in special media or exposure to heat
adjective (əˈtɛnjʊɪt; -ˌeɪt)
4.
diluted, weakened, slender, or reduced
5.
(botany) tapering gradually to a point
Word Origin
C16: from Latin attenuāre to weaken, from tenuis thin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for attenuate
v.

"to make thin, to make less," 1520s, from Latin attenuatus "enfeebled, weak," past participle of attenuare "to make thin, lessen, diminish," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + tenuare "make thin," from tenuis "thin" (see tenet). Related: Attenuated; attenuating. Earlier was Middle English attenuen "to make thin (in consistency)," early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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attenuate in Medicine

attenuate at·ten·u·ate (ə-těn'yōō-āt')
v. at·ten·u·at·ed, at·ten·u·at·ing, at·ten·u·ates

  1. To reduce in force, value, amount, or degree; weaken; diminish.

  2. To make bacteria or viruses less virulent.

adj.
Reduced or weakened, as in strength, value, or virulence.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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