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attenuate

[verb uh-ten-yoo-eyt; adjective uh-ten-yoo-it, -eyt]
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verb (used with object), at·ten·u·at·ed, at·ten·u·at·ing.
  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), at·ten·u·at·ed, at·ten·u·at·ing.
  1. to become thin or fine; lessen.
adjective
  1. weakened; diminishing.
  2. Botany. tapering gradually to a narrow extremity.

Origin of attenuate

First recorded in 1520–30, attenuate is from the Latin word attenuātus (past participle of attenuāre to thin, reduce). See at-, tenuis, -ate1
Related formso·ver·at·ten·u·ate, verb (used with object), o·ver·at·ten·u·at·ed, o·ver·at·ten·u·at·ing.sub·at·ten·u·ate, adjectivesub·at·ten·u·at·ed, adjectiveun·at·ten·u·at·ed, adjectiveun·at·ten·u·at·ed·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for attenuated

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. (tr) to make (a pathogenic bacterium, virus, etc) less virulent, as by culture in special media or exposure to heat
adjective (əˈtɛnjʊɪt, -ˌeɪt)
  1. diluted, weakened, slender, or reduced
  2. 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

Word Origin and History for attenuated

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

attenuated in Medicine

attenuate

(ə-tĕnyōō-āt′)
v.
  1. To reduce in force, value, amount, or degree; weaken; diminish.
  2. To make bacteria or viruses less virulent.
adj.
  1. 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.