extenuating circumstance

See more synonyms for extenuating circumstance on Thesaurus.com
noun Law.
  1. Usually extenuating circumstances. a circumstance that renders conduct less serious and thereby serves to reduce the damages to be awarded or the punishment to be imposed.

Origin of extenuating circumstance

First recorded in 1830–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for extenuating circumstances

revenge, exoneration, justification, substantiation, compurgation

Idioms and Phrases with extenuating circumstances

extenuating circumstances

A situation or condition that provides an excuse for an action, as in Although Nancy missed three crucial rehearsals, there were extenuating circumstances, so she was not dismissed. This expression was originally legal terminology, denoting circumstances that partly excuse a crime and therefore call for less punishment or damages. [c. 1600]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.