Definition of extenuate in English:


Line breaks: ex|tenu|ate
Pronunciation: /ɪkˈstɛnjʊeɪt
, ɛk-/


[with object]
1 (as adjective extenuating) (Of a factor or situation) acting in mitigation to lessen the seriousness of guilt or an offence: hunger and poverty are not treated by the courts as extenuating circumstances
More example sentences
  • Members of the SWC jury said, while commenting on one case, that infanticide is an abominable crime and those who commit it cannot be exonerated, whatever the extenuating circumstances.
  • Zero tolerance means that if you test positive for prohibited substance use, then barring any exculpatory or extenuating circumstances, it is likely that you will be issued with a termination notice or reduced in rank.
  • This still leaves scope for the sentence to be lessened in the light of extenuating circumstances to do with the crime itself.
2 (usually as adjective extenuated) literary Make (someone) thin: drawings of extenuated figures
More example sentences
  • A doctrinal synthesis may be a negative guide, eliminating erroneous interpretation, but only in a very extenuated sense would it be a positive aid to interpretation.
  • Both outfits extenuated the tans and muscles that had grown over the summer.
  • Its rather angular and extenuated figures are reminiscent of those of a pyxis in Berkeley which has already been discussed in its relation to our painter.


late Middle English (in the sense 'make thin'): from Latin extenuat- 'made thin', from the verb extenuare (based on tenuis 'thin').



Pronunciation: /-ˈeɪʃ(ə)n/
More example sentences
  • Lawyer Mark Waple, who has handled a number of cases on Fort Bragg, said the recent revelations ‘seem to be more along the lines of extenuation and mitigation rather than any defence.’
  • This is a hard doctrine, but one that has undiminished resonance for us in our own era, whose search for extenuation and victimization diminishes rather than ennobles all it touches.
  • Magee argues that Wagner's anti-Semitism, though reprehensible, was not mirrored in his work, but his extenuations have the tone of a capable defense attorney pleading for us to exercise reasonable doubt.


Pronunciation: /-jʊət(ə)ri/
More example sentences
  • Here are some examples of manslaughter arising from extenuatory considerations in fact.
  • The extenuatory sentencing circumstances are various circumstances synoptically provided by the penal code, represent the actors' public harm and personal danger, and can be applied with extenuation in sentences.

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Word of the day demoralize
Pronunciation: dəˈmôrəˌlīz
cause (someone) to lose confidence or hope; dispirit