Extenuate definition

ĭk-stĕnyo͝o-āt
To mitigate or lessen.
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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.

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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.

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To make thin or emaciated.
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To belittle; disparage.
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(archaic) To make thin or lean.
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(now rare) To diminish or weaken.
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To lessen or seem to lessen the seriousness of (an offense, guilt, etc.) by giving excuses or serving as an excuse.

Extenuating circumstances.

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(archaic) To underrate; underestimate.
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(obs.) To belittle or disparage.
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To make thin or slender; to draw out so as to lessen the thickness.
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(intransitive) To become thinner.
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To lessen; to palliate; to lessen or weaken the force of; to diminish the conception of, as crime, guilt, faults, ills, accusations, etc.; opposed to aggravate.
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Origin of extenuate

  • Latin extenuāre extenuāt- ex- ex- tenuāre to make thin (from tenuis thin ten- in Indo-European roots)

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Latin extenuatus, past participle of extenuare (“to make thin, loosen, weaken”) from ex (“out”) + tenuare (“to make thin”), from tenuis (“thin”).

    From Wiktionary