ex·ten·u·a·tion | \ik-ˌsten-yə-ˈwā-shən, -yü-ˈā-\

Definition of extenuation 

1 : the act of extenuating something or the state of being extenuated especially : partial justification … it was never her aspiration to express herself virtuously so much as cleverly—a point to be remembered in extenuation of her words, which were usually worse than she was. — George Eliot The best we can say in extenuation is to point out that glory rather than greed prompted this act of injustice to a seaman. — Samuel Eliot Morison

2 : something extenuating especially : a partial excuse He persuades us that … he was poor and that he was financially burdened with a wife and four children. One shudders for any contemporary wretch who would come before Safire's pen with a similar budget of extenuations. — Thomas Flanagan

First Known Use of extenuation

circa 1543, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of extenuation was circa 1543

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evasion of direct action or statement

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