Word of the Day

Monday, June 27, 2011

attenuate

\uh-TEN-yoo-eyt\ , verb;
1.
To weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value
2.
To make thin; make slender or fine.
3.
In medicine, to render less virulent, as a strain of pathogenic virus or bacterium.
4.
In electronics, to decrease the amplitude of an electronic signal.
Quotes:
With no reactor coolant to absorb the heat of the uranium rods, the nuclear reaction actually stopped - there was no water to attenuate the neutron flux.
-- Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October
But before she could attenuate in any way the crudity of her collapse he gave an impatient jerk which took him to the window.
-- Henry James, What Maise Knew
Origin:
Attenuate is based on the Latin attenuāre, "to thin, reduce."
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