- 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.
transitive verbextenuated, extenuating
- 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 of extenuate; from Classical Latin extenuatus, past participle of extenuare ; from ex-, out + tenuare, to make thin ; from tenuis, thin
transitive verbex·ten·u·at·ed, ex·ten·u·at·ing, ex·ten·u·ates
- To lessen or appear to lessen the seriousness or extent of (an offense, for example), especially by providing partial excuses: extenuated his crime as part of his testimony.
- Archaic a. To make thin or emaciated.b. To mitigate or lessen.c. To belittle; disparage.
Origin of extenuateLatin extenuāre, extenuāt- : ex-, ex- + tenuāre, to make thin (from tenuis, thin; see ten- in Indo-European roots).
(third-person singular simple present extenuates, present participle extenuating, simple past and past participle extenuated)