Something that literally emaciates you (such as an illness) makes you too skinny.
So, to emaciate, both literally and figuratively, is to waste away, or to become weak.
im AY she ate
Part of speech:
It's both transitive ("to emaciate something")
and intransitive ("something emaciates.")
Emaciated, emaciating, emaciation.
"Emaciate" is also an adjective, but it seems rare. You say it "im AY she it." (It's just like how you pronounce "separate" differently when it's a verb vs. an adjective.)
How to use it:
Although you can be literal and talk about illnesses that emaciate the body, or supermodels with scary, emaciated figures, let's focus on the figurative meaning:
When you say something emaciates, or that something is emaciated by something else, you mean it's becoming less strong, as if its substance is slowly disappearing. You're making a comparison to a weakened, malnourished body (an image that will probably pop into your listener's mind when you use this word.)
To use the intransitive verb, talk about things that emaciate on their own. That includes anything that requires "nourishment" and isn't getting it: a skill or ability that emaciates, a once-popular belief that's starting to emaciate, an emaciated relationship, an emaciated mind or intellect or curiosity, or an emaciated vocabulary.
To use the transitive verb, talk about one thing that emaciates something else: a lack of practice emaciates a skill or ability; distance or neglect emaciates a relationship; hardship, depression, or a lack of opportunity emaciates someone's intellect.
Those high school years of assigned books, "close readings," essays, and annotations emaciated his natural love of novels.
That house has good bones. But that's all it's got; it's emaciated, and nursing it back to health won't be cheap.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "emaciate" means when you can explain it without saying "weaken" or "lose substance."
Think of a belief or hope that is just barely there anymore (whether it's your own or someone else's, and whether you see that as a good thing or a bad thing) and fill in the blank: "The belief/hope that _____ has emaciated, but it just won't die."
Example: "The belief that women are less fit for STEM careers has emaciated, but it just won't die."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, challenge your powers of memory and recall (or just get ready to reign supreme on Wheel of Fortune) as we play with two-word phrases that you’ll find in a dictionary. We’ll start off with easy tasks and advance to harder ones as the month goes on. See the right answer to each question the following day. You might even see a new phrase that inspires your curiosity and makes you look it up. Have fun! (Note: Every dictionary recognizes a different set of two-word phrases. I used the OED to make these game questions.)
You’ll see the first word of each phrase, along with a few letters in the second word. See how many of them you can think of:
Abraham Lincoln: “Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.”
1. The opposite of EMACIATE is
2. Their argument was emaciated by _____.
A. its most eloquent supporter, who brought it to the public's attention
B. a series of well-designed studies that failed to find support for it
C. an interpretation that rendered it in slightly kinder terms
Answers are below.
To be a sponsor and send your own message to readers of this list, please contact Liesl at Liesl@HiloTutor.com.
Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.