Word of the day

The word for today is…

attenuate (verb) – 1. To make slender, fine, or small.
2. To reduce in force, value, amount, or degree; weaken.
3. To lessen the density of; rarefy.
4. (Biology) To make (bacteria or viruses) less virulent.
5. (Electronics) To reduce (the amplitude of an electrical signal) with little or no distortion.

(adj) – 1. Reduced or weakened, as in strength, value, or virulence.
2. (Botany) Gradually tapering to a slender point.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : The Latin verbs tenuāre “to make thin, slender, meager; rarefy” and its compound attenuāre “to make thin or weak; weaken, diminish” both occur in classical authors and are just about synonymous (attenuāre seems to have slightly more emphasis on making weak or feeble). The root word is the Latin adjective tenuis “thin,” from the very common Proto-Indo-European root ten- “stretch” (tenuis thus means “stretched out”), appearing in Latin tendere “to stretch” (and source of English tend), Latin tener “soft, delicate” (the source, through French of English tender) and Germanic (English) thin. Attenuate entered English in the 16th century.


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Peter is a fourth-generation New Zealander, with his mother’s and father’s folks having arrived in New Zealand in the 1870s. He lives in Lower Hutt with his wife, three cats and assorted computers.

His work history has been in the timber, banking and real estate industries, and he’s now enjoying retirement. He has been interested in computers for over thirty years and is a strong advocate for free open source software. He is chairman of the SeniorNet Hutt City committee.

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