- serving to make a fault, offense, etc., appear less serious: The judge gave him a comparatively mild sentence due to extenuating circumstances.
Origin of extenuating
- 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 extenuating
But really, you know, where are the extenuating circumstances?A Tangled Tale
"There may be some extenuating circumstances in your case—but I doubt it," he said.The Minister of Evil
William Le Queux
There were extenuating circumstances about what Lafe Wynn had done.Owen Clancy's Happy Trail
Burt L. Standish
Then he sat down: he had made no mention of extenuating circumstances.Fantmas
The jury brought in a verdict of guilty with extenuating circumstances.The Cult of Incompetence
- 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 extenuating
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper