Definition of extenuate
extenuatorplay \ik-ˈsten-yə-ˌwā-tər, -yü-ˌā-\ noun
extenuatoryplay \ik-ˈsten-yə-wə-ˌtȯr-ē, -yü-ə-\ adjective
Examples of extenuate in a sentence
<don't even try to extenuate their vandalism of the cemetery with the old refrain of “Boys will be boys”>
Did You Know?
You have probably encountered the phrase "extenuating circumstances," which is one of the more common ways that this word turns up in modern times. "Extenuate" was borrowed into English in the 16th century from Latin extenuatus, the past participle of the verb "extenuare," which was itself formed by combining "ex-" and the verb tenuare, meaning "to make thin." In addition to the surviving senses, "extenuate" once meant "to make light of" and "to make thin or emaciated"; although those senses are now obsolete, the connection to "tenuare" can be traced somewhat more clearly through them. In addition, "extenuate" gave us the adjective extenuatory, meaning "tending to make less."
Origin and Etymology of extenuate
Latin extenuatus, past participle of extenuare, from ex- + tenuis thin — more at thin
First Known Use: 1529
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