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tr.v. ex·ten·u·at·ed, ex·ten·u·at·ing, ex·ten·u·ates
1. To lessen or appear to lessen the seriousness or extent of (an offense, for example), especially by providing partial excuses: extenuated his crime as part of his testimony.
a. To make thin or emaciated.
b. To mitigate or lessen.
c. To belittle; disparage.
[Latin extenuāre, extenuāt- : ex-, ex- + tenuāre, to make thin (from tenuis, thin; see ten- in Indo-European roots).]
ex·ten′u·a′tive adj. & n.
ex·ten′u·a·to′ry (-ə-tôr′ē) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.