To extenuate is defined as to reduce the guilt associated with a wrongdoing.(verb)
The fact that someone is starving is an example of something that would extenuate the guilt for stealing a loaf of bread.
See extenuate in Webster's New World College Dictionary
Origin: < L extenuatus, pp. of extenuare < ex-, out + tenuare, to make thin < tenuis, thin
See extenuate in American Heritage Dictionary 4
transitive verb ex·ten·u·at·ed, ex·ten·u·at·ing, ex·ten·u·ates
Origin: Latin extenuāre, extenuāt-
Origin: : ex-, ex-
Origin: + tenuāre, to make thin (from tenuis, thin; see ten- in Indo-European roots).
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