Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “extenuate”

extenuate

verb [T] uk   /ɪkˈsten.ju.eɪt/ formal us  
to cause a wrong act to be judged less seriously by giving reasons for it: He was unable to say anything that might have extenuated his behaviour.Defining and explaining
extenuating
adjective [before noun] uk   /-eɪ.tɪŋ/ us    /-eɪ.t̬ɪŋ/ formal
She was found guilty of theft, but because of extenuating circumstances (= a situation which made her crime seem less serious) was not sent to prison.Defining and explaining
extenuation
noun [U] uk   /ɪkˌsten.juˈeɪ.ʃən/ formal us  
Her plea of ignorance of the law in extenuation of (= as an excuse for) her crime was not accepted.Reasons and explanations
(Definition of extenuate from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of extenuate?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Translations of “extenuate”

Word of the Day

flair

natural ability to do something well

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More