Definition of extenuating adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

extenuating

 adjective
adjective
BrE BrE//ɪkˈstenjueɪtɪŋ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ɪkˈstenjueɪtɪŋ//
 
[only before noun](formal)
 
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showing reasons why a wrong or illegal act, or a bad situation, should be judged less seriously or excused There were extenuating circumstances and the defendant did not receive a prison sentence. Cases of illness and other extenuating circumstances that may have affected a student’s performance will be dealt with by a personal tutor. Word Origin late Middle English (in the sense ‘make thin’): from Latin extenuat- ‘made thin’, from the verb extenuare (based on tenuis ‘thin’) + -ing.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: extenuating