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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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British Dictionary definitions for extenuative

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
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Word Origin and History for extenuative

extenuate

v.

1520s, from Latin extenuatus, past participle of extenuare "lessen, make small, reduce, diminish," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + tenuare "make thin," from tenuis "thin" (see tenet). Related: Extenuated; extenuating. Extenuating circumstances attested from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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