ex·​ten·​u·​a·​tion | \ ik-ˌsten-yə-ˈwā-shən How to pronounce extenuation (audio) , -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

Examples of extenuation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Not surprisingly, fellow-travelers on the left criticized Conquest either from a wish to disbelieve the Soviet horrors or from an ideological sympathy that compelled extenuation of them. Peter J. Travers, National Review, 29 Mar. 2022

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extenuation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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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Cite this Entry

“Extenuation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extenuation. Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of extenuation for Spanish Speakers


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