January 12th, 2020

words 6
  • sallymn

Sunday Word: Attenuated

attenuated [uh-teh-nyoo-eyt-uhd]
adjective:
1 Having been reduced in force, effect, or value.
1a (of a signal, electric current, or other oscillation) reduced in amplitude
1b (of a pathogenic organism) reduced in virulence, especially for use as a vaccine.
2 Thin or reduced in thickness.

Examples:

But I am aware that my connection to Russia is an attenuated connection. I do not know Russian or Russia as well as my parents did. (Keith Gessen, Why Did I Teach My Son to Speak Russian?, The New Yorker, 2018)

"For example, rain intensity over the Norwegian coast is less than the previous rainfall map would indicate. And the models that show the relation between weather conditions and attenuated signals have weaknesses, particularly when the satellites have a low position in the sky", he says. (Åse Dragland, Wind and weather disrupt satellite signals at high latitudes, sciencenorway, 2019)

The theory is something like this: Space is pervaded by luminiferous ether, which is a material thing--as much a substance as air or water, though almost infinitely more attenuated. (Ambrose Bierce, Present At A Hanging And Other Ghost Stories )

We live in an era of shortened attention spans and attenuated half-lives for products, companies, and business models. (William Dean Howells, My Literary Passions)

Origin:

'Made thin, made less,' 1520s, from Latin attenuatus, past participle of attenuare 'to make thin, lessen, diminish,' from assimilated form of ad 'to' + tenuare 'make thin,' from tenuis 'thin,' from PIE root ten- 'to stretch.' Earlier was Middle English attenuen 'to make thin (in consistency),' early 15c. (Online Etymological Dictionary)