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Definition of "extenuate" [ex•ten•u•ate]

  • To lessen or attempt to lessen the magnitude or seriousness of, especially by providing partial excuses. See Synonyms at palliate. (verb-transitive)
  • Archaic To make thin or emaciated. (verb-transitive)
  • Archaic To reduce the strength of. (verb-transitive)
  • Obsolete To belittle; disparage. (verb-transitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "extenuate" in a sentence
  • "This I neither "extenuate" nor "set down in malice," but merely record the fact."
  • "I would not "set down aught in malice," I would rather "extenuate," yet am I bound in truth to say that"
  • "It is true the people at the Cascades had suffered much, and that their wives and children had been murdered before their eyes, but to wreak vengeance on Spencer's unoffending family, who had walked into their settlement under the protection of a friendly alliance, was an unparalleled outrage which nothing can justify or extenuate."