Meaning of extenuate in English:


See synonyms for extenuate

Translate extenuate into Spanish


[with object]
  • 1Cause (an offence) to seem less serious.

    ‘even the fact that you once helped to save my life could not extenuate your offence’
    • ‘Members of the SWC jury said, while commenting on one case, that infanticide is an abominable crime and those who commit it cannot be exonerated, whatever the extenuating circumstances.’
    • ‘Zero tolerance means that if you test positive for prohibited substance use, then barring any exculpatory or extenuating circumstances, it is likely that you will be issued with a termination notice or reduced in rank.’
    • ‘This still leaves scope for the sentence to be lessened in the light of extenuating circumstances to do with the crime itself.’
    • ‘If you currently have an approved vacation, contact your CTM, Delivery Manager, Captain to establish alternate dates or justify extenuating circumstances.’
    • ‘The two also have a stimulating discussion about whether murder can ever be justified by extenuating circumstances.’
    • ‘Labour leader Ian Male said last night that the increases could not be morally justified, although there were extenuating circumstances.’
    • ‘There are extenuating circumstances, her ignorance, her naivety, her youth (not a crime, one character tries to reassure her), and another's scheming and deception.’
    • ‘There were no extenuating circumstances nor can the Board imagine any that could have justified his continuance.’
    • ‘Despite anguished pleas of extenuating circumstances by the desperate father, the school system has so far adamantly insisted that automatic punishments for weapon possession in school are inviolate.’
    • ‘‘Unless there are the most extenuating circumstances, a person convicted of murder can expect no clemency until he or she has served an extremely lengthy sentence,’ Mr Holmes said.’
    • ‘And there are other considerations-the value of the stolen property, the absence of any extenuating circumstances like dire need, or repentance and restoration of property.’
    • ‘Escudie said ‘a small number’ have been granted emergency extensions by military commanders because of extenuating circumstances, including deaths in the family.’
    • ‘I do think the extenuating circumstances mean that a transfer is necessary.’
    • ‘She is unconcerned with explanations, alternative interpretations of the evidence (which is flimsy to begin with), extenuating circumstances.’
    • ‘According to provincial law, when a death occurs in Regina a physician or, in extenuating circumstances, a coroner must complete a Medical Certificate of Death with respect to the deceased.’
    • ‘Orders came down that anyone who was currently out of status, regardless of any pending applications or extenuating circumstances, was to be automatically detained.’
    • ‘Fialkowski says that students with a high remaining balance due to extenuating circumstances could request a refund or exemption, but that this is rare, and only granted on an individual basis.’
    • ‘During this review, additional information was made available to suggest that there were extenuating circumstances and that the actions of the officer were not representative of his normal conduct.’
    • ‘In Florida, you can be held for 21 days before you're released on your own recognizance unless the state has some kind of extenuating circumstances to hold you.’
    • ‘Effective in the 2003 fall semester, the university will change the way it handles requests by students for course withdrawal under extenuating circumstances.’
    forgive, pardon, absolve, exonerate, acquit
    View synonyms
  • 2 literary Make (someone) thin.

    ‘his whole frame was extenuated by hunger and fatigue’
    • ‘drawings of extenuated figures’
    • ‘A doctrinal synthesis may be a negative guide, eliminating erroneous interpretation, but only in a very extenuated sense would it be a positive aid to interpretation.’
    • ‘Both outfits extenuated the tans and muscles that had grown over the summer.’
    • ‘Its rather angular and extenuated figures are reminiscent of those of a pyxis in Berkeley which has already been discussed in its relation to our painter.’
    • ‘On one wall, there is a gallery of grave, extenuated figures that recall El Greco.’



/ɪkˈstɛnjʊeɪt/ /ɛkˈstɛnjʊeɪt/


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘make thin’): from Latin extenuat- ‘made thin’, from the verb extenuare (based on tenuis ‘thin’).