- To extenuate is defined as to reduce the guilt associated with a wrongdoing.
The fact that someone is starving is an example of something that would extenuate the guilt for stealing a loaf of bread.
extenuate definition by Webster's New World
- Archaic to make thin or lean
- Now Rare to diminish or weaken
- to lessen or seem to lessen the seriousness of (an offense, guilt, etc.) by giving excuses or serving as an excuse: extenuating circumstances
- Archaic to underrate; underestimate
- Obsolete to belittle or disparage
Origin: ; from Classical Latin extenuatus, past participle of extenuare ; from ex-, out plush tenuare, to make thin ; from tenuis, thin
- extenuator noun
extenuate definition by American Heritage Dictionary
transitive verb ex·ten·u·at·ed, ex·ten·u·at·ing, ex·ten·u·ates
- To lessen or attempt to lessen the magnitude or seriousness of, especially by providing partial excuses. See Synonyms at palliate.
- Archaic a. To make thin or emaciated.b. To reduce the strength of.
- Obsolete To belittle; disparage.
Origin: Latin extenuāre, extenuāt- : ex-, ex- + tenuāre, to make thin (from tenuis, thin; see ten- in Indo-European roots).
- ex·tenˈu·aˌtive adjective & n.
- ex·tenˈu·aˌtor noun
- ex·tenˈu·a·toˌry adjective