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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act of extenuating or the condition of being extenuated; partial justification.
  • n. A partial excuse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of extenuating or the state of being extenuated; the act of making thin, slender, or lean, or of palliating; diminishing, or lessening; palliation, as of a crime; mitigation, as of punishment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of axtenuating or the state of being extenuated; the act of making thin, slender, or lean, or of palliating; diminishing, or lessening; palliation, as of a crime; mitigation, as of punishment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of making thin; the process of growing thin or lean; the losing of flesh.
  • n. The act of making less, or that which makes less, in importance or degree; a diminishing of blame or guilt in fact or in estimation; mitigation; palliation: as, his faults deserve no extenuation; a charitable purpose is no extenuation of crime.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a partial excuse to mitigate censure; an attempt to represent an offense as less serious than it appears by showing mitigating circumstances
  • n. to act in such a way as to cause an offense to seem less serious


From extenuate. (Wiktionary)


  • I can only say in extenuation, I owe to Dr. Riddell, whom I am very happy to see here today, my deep interest in the early days in international affairs.

    The New Face of the United Nations

  • Whether or not it introduced evidence on the issue of guilt or innocence, the defense may, after findings of guilty are announced and before the court closes to vote on the sentence, introduce matter in extenuation or mitigation.


  • Whether or not he testified on the issue of guilt or innocence or as to matters in extenuation or mitigation, the accused may make an unsworn statement to the court in mitigation or extenuation of the offenses of which he stands convicted, but the right to make such an unsworn statement does not permit the filing of the affidavit of the accused.


  • Matter in extenuation of an offense serves to explain the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offense, including the reasons that actuated the accused but not extending to a legal justification.


  • With respect to matter in extenuation and mitigation offered by the defense, the court may relax the rules of evidence to the extent of receiving affidavits, certificates of military and civil officers, and other writings of similar apparent authenticity and reliability.


  • I must say, in extenuation, that I was very young at that time.

    Close to the War

  • The hospitality of the Dukhobors is usually without price, but Bill took what I proffered him, remarking in extenuation, and with a rising emphasis:

    Janey Canuck in the West

  • I must say, in extenuation, that of optimists I am the most optimistic.

    Author's Preface

  • After the Governor had given Kuba several audiences and patiently heard all he had to urge in extenuation of Hintza's evasive conduct, it was evident he had not the slightest intention of restoring the cattle, or making any reparation for the murder of British subjects early in the war, the destruction of the missionary station at Butterworth, etc.

    The Autobiography of Liuetenant-General Sir Harry Smith, Baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, G. C. B.

  • Do you not think this will be taken in extenuation?

    Selections from the Letters of Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury to Jane Welsh Carlyle


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