- The definition of extenuating is circumstances or facts that are lessening the severity of something or explaining bad behavior.
If you were starving when you stole a loaf of bread, your starvation is an example of an extenuating circumstance.
- Present participle of extenuate.
Variant of extenuate
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