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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