attenuate \uh-TEN-yoo-eyt\ verb – To weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value. To make thin; make slender or fine. In medicine, to render less virulent, as a strain of pathogenic virus or bacterium. In electronics, to decrease the amplitude of an electronic signal. Origin: Attenuate is based on the Latin attenuāre, “to [...]
Archive for June, 2011
pullulate \PUHL-yuh-leyt\ verb – To exist abundantly; swarm; teem. To send forth sprouts, buds, etc. To increase rapidly; multiply. Origin: Pullulate derives from the Latin pullulatus, “to grow or sprout,” and relates to the Latin noun pullus, “a young animal.”
foist \FOIST\ verb – To force upon or impose fraudulently or unjustifiably. To bring, put, or introduce surreptitiously or fraudulently. Origin: Foist comes from a phrase in Dutch dialect, vuisten, itself derived from vuist, “fist,” in reference to concealing dice in one’s hand during some game.
wiredrawn \WAH-yuhr-drawn\ adjective – Finely spun; extremely intricate; minute. Drawn out long and thin like a wire. Origin: Wiredrawn is a back-formation from the verb to wiredraw, “to draw (metal) out into wire, especially by pulling forcibly through a series of holes of gradually decreasing diameter.”
catarrh \kuh-TAHR\ noun – Inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially of the respiratory tract, accompanied by excessive secretions. Origin: Catarrh enters English in the 1300s, derived from the Greek katárrous, “down-flowing.”