thin

thin vb Thin, attenuate, extenuate, dilute, rarefy. Thin is the most inclusive of these terms and is interchangeable with any of the others, though not without some loss of precision or of specific connotations. Basically it implies reduction in thickness or in density; in extended use it implies a comparable diminution (as of strength, depth, or intensity)
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thin a forest by removing surplus trees

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thin wine by adding water

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the voice thins when one raises its pitch

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thin paint with turpentine

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constant use thins silver

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Attenuate implies thinning as the result of some such process as drawing out, spinning fine, or culturing (as a strain of bacteria) repeatedly or as the effect of conditions (as disease or starvation) which emaciate
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attenuate wire by drawing it through successively smaller holes

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hammer brass in order to attenuate it

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a wave of current attenuates in magnitude and phase as it travels along a transmission line

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attenuate a virus by heating it

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the powerful frame attenuated by spare living— Dickens

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In its frequent extended use attenuate implies the loss of properties that are necessary to a thing's strength, richness, effectiveness, or vitality, and it often connotes overrefining, oversubtilizing, or overemphasis of an opposing quality
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we may reject and reject till we attenuate history into sapless meagerness— Palgrave

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if she had had a little more self-control she would have attenuated the emotion to nothing by sheer reasoning— Hardy

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illusions which science can attenuate or destroy, but which it is powerless to enrich— Krutch

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Extenuate in a somewhat learned use can suggest attrition either by literally emaciating and exhausting (see also PALLIATE)
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peasants... so extenuated by hunger that they could scarcely hold the spade— Lecky

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or by a gradual diminishing of a thing's importance or significance
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the . . . tendency ... to extenuate the responsibility of human nature, not merely on the moral side, but equally on the spiritual side— Mackenzie

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Dilute implies a thinning of what is concentrated by the addition or, in extended use, sometimes by the influence of something that weakens it, neutralizes it, or destroys its vigor or intensity
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dilute peppermint oil with alcohol

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dilute hydrochloric acid with water

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the pioneer spirit has been diluted by new race mixtures, its confidence shaken by new social trends— Amer. Guide Series: Minn.

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the rough, spontaneous conversation of men they [clergymen] do not hear, but only a mincing and diluted speech— Emerson

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Rarefy implies a thinning in density and usually an expansion in volume or a decrease in weight or pressure
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the rarefied air of mountainous regions

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the expansive power of moisture rarefied by heat— Macaulay

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The word occurs in extended use chiefly with reference to ideas, emotions, and intellectual powers, sometimes suggesting their spiritualization or refinement and the elimination of all grossness and impurity and sometimes imputing to them a vaporous or tenuous quality
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plain truths lose much of their weight when they are rarefied into subleties— Cudworth

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love is a gentle flame that rarefies and expands her whole being— Hazlitt

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Analogous words: reduce, lessen, diminish, *decrease: *liquefy, melt
Antonyms: thicken

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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  • thin´ly — thin «thihn», adjective, thin|ner, thin|nest, adverb, verb, thinned, thin|ning, noun. –adj. 1. with little space from one side to the opposite side; not thick: »a thin book, thin paper, thin wire. The ice o …   Useful english dictionary

  • Thin — Thin, a. [Compar. {Thiner}; superl. {Thinest}.] [OE. thinne, thenne, thunne, AS. [thorn]ynne; akin to D. dun, G. d[ u]nn, OHG. dunni, Icel. [thorn]unnr, Sw. tunn, Dan. tynd, Gael. & Ir. tana, W. teneu, L. tenuis, Gr. ? (in comp.) stretched out, ? …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • thin — [θɪn] adjective JOURNALISM if trading on a financial market is thin, there is not much activity: • Trade was thin in the currency markets yesterday, heading into a Japanese long weekend. * * * thin UK US /θɪn/ adjective (thinner, thinnest) ►… …   Financial and business terms

  • thin — [thin] adj. thinner, thinnest [ME thinne < OE thynne, akin to Ger dünn < IE * tenu , thin < base * ten , to stretch > L tenuis, thin, tenere, to hold, tendere & Gr teinein, to stretch] 1. having relatively little depth; of little… …   English World dictionary

  • Thin — may refer to:* Thin client, computer in client server architecture networks * Thin film, material layer of about 1 µm thickness * Thin film memory, high speed variation of core memory developed by Sperry Rand in a government funded research… …   Wikipedia

  • Thin — Photo bienvenue Merci Caractéristiques Longueur 22,1 km Bassin 93,5 km2 Bassin collecteur Meuse Débit moyen 1,33 m3 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • thin — [adj1] fine, light, slender attenuate, attenuated, beanpole*, beanstalk*, bony*, cadaverous, delicate, emaciated, ethereal, featherweight, fragile, gangling, gangly, gaunt, haggard, lank, lanky, lean, lightweight, meager, narrow, peaked, pinched …   New thesaurus

  • thin — ► ADJECTIVE (thinner, thinnest) 1) having opposite surfaces or sides close together. 2) (of a garment or fabric) made of light material. 3) having little flesh or fat on the body. 4) having few parts or members relative to the area covered or… …   English terms dictionary

  • thin — O.E. þynne narrow, lean, scanty, from P.Gmc. *thunnuz, *thunw (Cf. W.Fris. ten, M.L.G. dunne, Du. dun, O.H.G. dunni, Ger. dünn, O.N. þunnr), from PIE *tnus , *tnwi , from weak grade of root *ten stretch (Cf. L. tenuis …   Etymology dictionary

  • Thin — Thin, adv. Not thickly or closely; in a seattered state; as, seed sown thin. [1913 Webster] Spain is thin sown of people. Bacon. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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