• IPA: /əˈtɛn.juː.eɪt/

attenuate (attenuates, present participle attenuating; past and past participle attenuated)

  1. (transitive) To reduce in size, force, value, amount, or degree.
    • 1874, Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd, ch. 40:
      A manor-house clock from the far depths of shadow struck the hour, one, in a small, attenuated tone.
  2. (transitive) To make thinner, as by physically reshaping, starving, or decaying.
    • 1899, Stephen Crane, His New Mittens, ch. 4:
      Clumps of attenuated turkeys were suspended here and there.
    • 1906, E. Phillips Oppenheim, The Malefactor, ch. 1:
      Lovell, wan and hollow-eyed, his arm in a sling, his once burly frame gaunt and attenuated with disease, nodded.
  3. (intransitive) To become thin or fine; to grow less.
  4. (transitive) To weaken.
    • The attention attenuates as its sphere contracts.
    • We may reject and reject till we attenuate history into sapless meagreness.
  5. (transitive) To rarefy.
    • 1901, H. G. Wells, The First Men in the Moon, ch. 23:
      "It speedily became apparent that the entire strangeness of our circumstances and surroundings—great loss of weight, attenuated but highly oxygenated air, consequent exaggeration of the results of muscular effort, rapid development of weird plants from obscure spores, lurid sky—was exciting my companion unduly."
  6. (transitive, medicine) To reduce the virulence of a bacterium or virus.
  7. (transitive, electronics) To reduce the amplitude of an electrical, radio, or optical signal.
  8. (brewing) (of a beer) To become less dense as a result of the conversion of sugar to alcohol.
Antonyms Translations Translations Adjective


  1. (botany, of leaves) Gradually tapering into a petiole-like extension toward the base.

This text is extracted from the Wiktionary and it is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license | Terms and conditions | Privacy policy 0.027
Offline English dictionary