extenuate

[ ik-sten-yoo-eyt ]
/ ɪkˈstɛn yuˌeɪt /

verb (used with object), ex·ten·u·at·ed, ex·ten·u·at·ing.

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.
Archaic.
  1. to make thin, lean, or emaciated.
  2. to reduce the consistency or density of.

Nearby words

  1. extensor muscle of fingers,
  2. extensor muscle of index finger,
  3. extensor muscle of little finger,
  4. extensor retinaculum,
  5. extent,
  6. extenuating,
  7. extenuating circumstance,
  8. extenuating circumstances,
  9. extenuation,
  10. extenuatory

Origin of extenuate

1375–1425; late Middle English (adj.) < Latin extenuātus, past participle of extenuāre, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + tenuāre to make thin or small; see -ate1

Related formsex·ten·u·at·ing, adjectiveex·ten·u·a·tive, adjectiveex·ten·u·a·tor, nounnon·ex·ten·u·a·tive, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for extenuate


British Dictionary definitions for extenuate

extenuate

/ (ɪkˈstɛnjʊˌeɪt) /

verb (tr)

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
archaic
  1. to emaciate or weaken
  2. to dilute or thin out
Derived Formsextenuating, adjectiveextenuation, nounextenuator, nounextenuatory, adjective

Word Origin for extenuate

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

extenuate

v.

1520s, from Latin extenuatus, past participle of extenuare "lessen, make small, reduce, diminish," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + tenuare "make thin," from tenuis "thin" (see tenet). Related: Extenuated; extenuating. Extenuating circumstances attested from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper