To emaciate is to make someone extremely thin or very weak. A serious illness can often emaciate a person, leaving them gaunt and frail.

The verb emaciate is much less common than its related adjective, emaciated. Both stem from the Latin emaciare, "make lean, cause to waste away." Whenever a person has become malnourished in a way that's evident just from looking at them, you can use this word: "The ravages of the Irish potato famine emaciated the starving people all across the country, eventually causing a million deaths."

Definitions of emaciate
  1. verb
    grow weak and thin or waste away physically
    “She emaciated during the chemotherapy”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    change state, turn
    undergo a transformation or a change of position or action
  2. verb
    cause to grow thin or weak
    “The treatment emaciated him”
    synonyms: macerate, waste
    see moresee less
    type of:
    debilitate, drain, enfeeble
    make weak
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month