extenuate

[ik-sten-yoo-eyt]
verb (used with object), extenuated, extenuating.
1.
to represent (a fault, offense, etc.) as less serious: to extenuate a crime.
2.
to serve to make (a fault, offense, etc.) seem less serious.
3.
to underestimate, underrate, or make light of: Do not extenuate the difficulties we are in.
4.
Archaic.
a.
to make thin, lean, or emaciated.
b.
to reduce the consistency or density of.

Origin:
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

extenuating, adjective
extenuative, adjective
extenuator, noun
nonextenuative, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
extenuate (ɪkˈstɛnjʊˌeɪt)
 
vb
1.  to represent (an offence, a fault, etc) as being less serious than it appears, as by showing mitigating circumstances
2.  to cause to be or appear less serious; mitigate
3.  to underestimate or make light of
4.  archaic
 a.  to emaciate or weaken
 b.  to dilute or thin out
 
[C16: from Latin extenuāre to make thin, from tenuis thin, frail]
 
ex'tenuating
 
adj
 
extenu'ation
 
n
 
ex'tenuator
 
n
 
ex'tenuatory
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

extenuate
1520s, from L. extenuat-, pp. stem of extenuare "lessen," from ex- "out" + tenuare "make thin," from tenuis "thin" (see tenet). Related: Extenuated; extenuating; extenuation.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The record evidence is sufficient to mitigate or extenuate the negative security implications stemming from the alcohol arrests.
The responsibility then shifts to the applicant to refute, extenuate or mitigate the government's case.
If the government meets its burden, it then falls to the applicant to refute, extenuate or mitigate the government's case.
Applicant must then refute, extenuate, or mitigate the government's case.
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