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extenuate

[ ik-sten-yoo-eyt ]
/ ɪkˈstɛn yuˌeɪt /
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See synonyms for: extenuate / extenuating / extenuative on Thesaurus.com

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.

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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
ex·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. 2021

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
extenuating, adjectiveextenuation, nounextenuator, nounextenuatory, adjective
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
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