Definition of extenuate
extenuatorplay \ik-ˈsten-yə-ˌwā-tər, -yü-ˌā-\ noun
extenuatoryplay \ik-ˈsten-yə-wə-ˌtȯr-ē, -yü-ə-\ adjective
extenuate was our Word of the Day on 06/30/2011. Hear the podcast!
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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”
Recent Examples of extenuate from the Web
In each instance, the students saw repercussions for extenuating factors surrounding their assault, not for the assault themselves, such as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
These little things extenuate the beer massively over time.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extenuate'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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."
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