to weaken, reduce


attenuate = abschwächen, mildern, verringern, verdünnen, vermindern, verkleinern, dämpfen, schwächen



“Michel Tondellier, a sociologist and lecturer at Antilles University who wrote a book on the subject of uniforms, said: ‘A poor child wearing a uniform remains a poor child. One-size-fits-all clothing will not eradicate socioeconomic inequalities, but only ATTENUATE their most visible aspects.’ “

Kim Willsher — The Guardian (26th February 2024)

“Two of these approaches are being investigated for use against SARS-CoV-2. A live-ATTENUATED vaccine in which the SARS-CoV-2 genome is “deoptimised” is being developed by Codagenix, an American biotech company, in collaboration with the Serum Institute of India.”

The Economist Briefing — (16th April 2020)

Did you


- to lessen the amount, force, magnitude, or value of : weaken

- to reduce the severity, virulence, or vitality of

- to make thin or slender

- to make thin in consistency : rarefy

- to become thin, fine, or less



The word "attenuate" comes from the Latin verb attenuare meaning "to make thin, lessen, diminish". Tenuare comes from the Latin adjective tenuis meaning "thin", which traces back to the Proto-Indo-European root ten- meaning "to stretch".

So the original sense of "attenuate" was "to make thin or slender" by stretching something out. This then developed into more figurative meanings like "to weaken, reduce in force/intensity, or make less dense".

“Attenuate" entered English in the 1520s.


- “It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials." - Bruce Lee

- “The more simple we are, the more complete we become." - August Rodin

- “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

- “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less." - Socrates

- “Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It's your masterpiece after all." - Nathan W. Morris


How Less is Leading the Way to Global Internet Access

Elon Musk's Starlink project attenuates costs and effort in its approach to satellite internet. Unlike traditional bulky satellites, Starlink utilizes a constellation of thousands of tiny, flat satellites.

As of April 2024, there were 5,874 Starlink satellites in orbit. Of these, 5,800 satellites are currently operational. SpaceX eventually hopes to have as many as 42,000 satellites in the full Starlink megaconstellation.

Minimalist design offers several advantages:

- Reduced Launch Costs = smaller satellites are cheaper to build and launch, requiring fewer rockets and lowering overall project expense.

- Faster Deployment = larger number of smaller satellites allows for quicker constellation build-up, bringing internet access to underserved areas sooner.

- Lower Orbit = Starlink satellites operate in a lower orbit compared to traditional ones. This reduces signal travel time, improving internet latency and speed.

- Reduced Light Pollution = the flat profile of Starlink satellites minimizes their reflective surface area, making them less intrusive on astronomical observations.

Minimalism allows Starlink to provide broader internet coverage at a faster pace and potentially lower cost, revolutionizing access to information for remote and underserved communities.


ATTENUATE, boil down, bring down to the bare bones, clip, compress, condense, contract, cut back (down), de-escalate, downscale, downsize, drop off, economize, lighten, mitigate, moderate, narrow, pare (down), rationalize, retrench, shorten, scale back, scale down, shave off, shrink, simplify, slenderize, slim down, streamline, strip down, subtract, taper, thin, tighten, tone down, trim, whittle down

SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation, say something like:

“A minimalist approach to project design can significantly ATTENUATE costs and implementation time.”

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