: tending to lessen the real or apparent seriousness of something (such as a crime, offense, or fault) : providing a partial justification or excuse for something
—usually used in the phrase extenuating circumstances
- … giving defense attorneys more leeway to fill in the story in the sentencing phase, during which mitigating or extenuating evidence was allowed.
- —Joann Wypijewski
- Fare waivers are used by airlines to forgive advance-purchase requirements or other price markups when passengers have extenuating circumstances, such as a death in the family or a mistake in ticketing.
- —The Wall Street Journal
- In the real world, most prosecutors crave to be in private practice, where they would defend the same people whose crimes they claim, as prosecutors, debase society, offering the same extenuating circumstances that are the object of their prosecutorial scorn.
- —John Gregory Dunne