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 the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
ex·tenu·a′tive adj. & n.
ex·tenu·a·to′ry (-ə-tôr′ē) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.