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extenuate

[ik-sten-yoo-eyt] /ɪkˈstɛn yuˌeɪt/
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.
  1. to make thin, lean, or emaciated.
  2. to reduce the consistency or density of.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
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
Related forms
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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Examples for extenuate
  • 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.
British Dictionary definitions for extenuate

extenuate

/ɪkˈstɛnjʊˌeɪt/
verb (transitive)
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)
  1. to emaciate or weaken
  2. to dilute or thin out
Derived Forms
extenuating, adjective
extenuation, noun
extenuator, noun
extenuatory, adjective
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for extenuate
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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