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ex•ten•u•ate



Pronunciation: (ik-sten'yOO-āt"), [key]
v.t., -at•ed, -at•ing.
1. to represent (a fault, offense, etc.) as less serious: to extenuate a crime.
2. to serve to make (a fault, offense, etc.) seem less serious.
3. to underestimate, underrate, or make light of: Do not extenuate the difficulties we are in.
4. Archaic.
a. to make thin, lean, or emaciated.
b. to reduce the consistency or density of.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

extentextenuating circumstances
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