AskDefine | Define extenuate

Dictionary Definition

extenuate v : lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of; "The circumstances extenuate the crime" [syn: palliate, mitigate]

User Contributed Dictionary



extenuatus, past participle of extenuare to make thin, loosen, weaken; ex out + tenuare to make thin, tenuis thin.



  1. To make thin or slender; to draw out so as to lessen the thickness.
  2. To lessen; to palliate; to lessen or weaken the force of; to diminish the conception of, as crime, guilt, faults, ills, accusations, etc.; -- opposed to aggravate.
  3. To lower or degrade; to detract from.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abate, allay, alleviate, allow for, apologize, assuage, attemper, attenuate, bank the fire, bate, blunt, chasten, color, constrain, control, cramp, cripple, damp, dampen, de-emphasize, deaden, debilitate, devitalize, dilute, diminish, downplay, dull, ease, enervate, enfeeble, eviscerate, exhaust, explain, gloss over, gruel, ignore, justify, keep within bounds, lay, lay low, lenify, lessen, lighten, make allowance for, mince, mitigate, moderate, modulate, obtund, palliate, play down, qualify, rationalize, rattle, reduce, reduce the temperature, remit, restrain, sap, shake, shake up, slacken, slow down, slur over, smother, sober, sober down, soft-pedal, soften, soften up, stifle, subdue, sugarcoat, suppress, tame, temper, tone down, tune down, unbrace, undermine, underplay, unman, unnerve, unstrengthen, unstring, varnish, veneer, water down, weaken, white, whiten, whitewash
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