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English definition of “extenuate”

extenuate

verb [T]     /ɪkˈsten.ju.eɪt/ formal
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     /-eɪ.tɪŋ/ US  /-eɪ.t̬ɪŋ/ adjective [before noun] 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     /ɪkˌsten.juˈeɪ.ʃən/ noun [U] formal 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 verb from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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