Definition of “extenuate” - English Dictionary

“extenuate” in British English

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extenuateverb [ T ]

uk /ɪkˈsten.ju.eɪt/ us /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.
extenuating
adjective [ before noun ] uk /ɪkˈsten.ju.eɪ.tɪŋ/ us /ɪkˈsten.ju.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.
extenuation
noun [ U ] uk /ɪkˌsten.juˈeɪ.ʃən/ us /ɪkˌsten.juˈeɪ.ʃən/ formal

Her plea of ignorance of the law in extenuation of (= as an excuse for) her crime was not accepted.

(Definition of “extenuate” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

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