Dictionary.com

extenuate

[ ik-sten-yoo-eyt ]
/ ɪkˈstɛn yuˌeɪt /
Save This Word!
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.
QUIZ
CUDDLE UP! A COZY QUIZ ON FALL WORDS HAS ARRIVED
If autumn is your ideal season, spice up your repertoire of "fall" vocabulary with this quiz on some warm and vivid descriptive words for the season.
Question 1 of 10
Which of the following words means “to make a crackling sound; crackle”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

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

OTHER WORDS FROM extenuate

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

How to use extenuate in a sentence

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 forms of extenuate

extenuating, 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
FEEDBACK