Definition of attenuate in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈtɛnjʊeɪt/
[with object]
1Reduce the force, effect, or value of: her intolerance was attenuated by an unexpected liberalism
More example sentences
  • I do not believe this attenuates the force of any judgement against those responsible for such attacks.
  • I think that there are strategies by which we can at least attenuate the negative effects of globalisation, but these strategies need to be more sophisticated than organised protest.
  • Particularly in disadvantaged areas, this perception of one's own power as a parent seems to be a promising avenue for attenuating the potentially harmful effects of the environment on children's development.
1.1Reduce the amplitude of (a signal, electric current, or other oscillation): the filter must severely attenuate frequencies above 10 Hz
More example sentences
  • In recent years, engineers have developed receivers that will perform satisfactorily even with multipath-corrupted and severely attenuated signals such as those found indoors.
  • New designs have greatly improved the sensitivity of GPS receivers so they can make code-phase measurements even on the severely attenuated signals inside buildings.
  • However, a possible drawback is that, as a consequence of relatively high conductivities, low frequency electric fields are severely attenuated in biological tissues.
1.2Reduce the virulence of (a pathogenic organism or vaccine): researchers hoped that the substance would attenuate the course of the disease
More example sentences
  • Varicella-zoster virus vaccine is a live attenuated virus that becomes latent after vaccination.
  • BCG is a live attenuated vaccine and is being given routinely to all newborns under the universal immunization programme.
  • Childhood vaccination against varicella with a live attenuated vaccine is now common in the United States and may be introduced elsewhere.
2Reduce in thickness; make thin.
Example sentences
  • Microscopic examination revealed the cysts were of varying size and shape and were lined by thin, attenuated endothelial cells.
  • The pink transparent band and the bold red title echo the scrawled writing of the original document shown in the photo and the thin, attenuated rubber band holding it all together.
  • In the earthly zone, which includes a gallery of portraits of Toledan gentlemen, the figures are only mildly attenuated and their garments are painted with the best Venetian illusionistic technique.
thin, slender, slim, skinny, spindly, bony, gaunt, skeletal;
narrow, thread-like, thinned down, stretched out, drawn out
rare extenuated, attenuate


Pronunciation: /əˈtɛnjʊət/
Reduced in force, effect, or physical thickness: the doctrines of Christianity became very attenuate and distorted
More example sentences
  • On the other hand, for their own analysis Carling et al. used an attenuate isosceles triangle with a blunt snout as their model organism, rather than the profile of an eel.


Mid 16th century: from Latin attenuat- 'made slender', from the verb attenuare, from ad- 'to' + tenuare 'make thin' (from tenuis 'thin').

Words that rhyme with attenuate


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: at¦tenu|ate

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