- to represent (a fault, offense, etc.) as less serious: to extenuate a crime.
- to serve to make (a fault, offense, etc.) seem less serious.
- to underestimate, underrate, or make light of: Do not extenuate the difficulties we are in.
- to make thin, lean, or emaciated.
- to reduce the consistency or density of.
Origin of extenuate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for extenuate
Whatever tends to extenuate the guilt of other sins, is an aggravation of this.Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I
Francis Augustus Cox
In such circumstances I cannot seek to extenuate any of my faults or follies.Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)
Above disguise, above art, above attempting to extenuate a failing.Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)
They attempted to extenuate their crimes by the hardships they had suffered, but in vain.
There was a vindictiveness in these crimes which no plea can extenuate.The Land We Live In</p>
- to represent (an offence, a fault, etc) as being less serious than it appears, as by showing mitigating circumstances
- to cause to be or appear less serious; mitigate
- to underestimate or make light of
- to emaciate or weaken
- to dilute or thin out
C16: from Latin extenuāre to make thin, from tenuis thin, frail
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for extenuate
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper