When you throw a pebble in a pond, it makes waves on the surface that move out from the place where the pebble entered the water. The waves are largest where they are formed and gradually get smaller as they move away. This decrease in size, or amplitude, of the waves is called attenuation. Seismic waves also become attenuated as they move away from the earthquake source.
Ripples on a pond are attenuated as they move away from the source. (Photo by Beth Conant)