extenuating circumstances

Idioms & Phrases

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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: extent
Next Definition: eye
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for extenuating circumstances
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing extenuating circumstances
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;