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Sep 22, 2010
This week's theme
Letter-words

This week's words
emanate
deify
extenuate
elegy
tedium
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

extenuate or X-10-U-8

PRONUNCIATION:
(ik-STEN-yoo-ayt)

MEANING:
verb tr.
1. To reduce or attempt to reduce the severity of (an error, an offense, etc.) by making partial excuses for it.
2. To lessen or to make light of.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin extenuare (to lessen), from ex- (out) + tenuare (to make thin), from tenuis (thin). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ten- (to stretch), which is also the source of tense, tenet, tendon, tent, tenor, tender, pretend, extend, tenure, tetanus, hypotenuse, pertinacious, and detente.

USAGE:
"The apology made clear that Shaftari believed that nothing could extenuate the wrongs he had done."
Robert F. Worth; 10 Years After a Mea Culpa, No Hint of a 'Me, Too'; The New York Times; Apr 17, 2010.

"Big bust, small lower half -- wear fitted jeans and tuck in your blouse to extenuate your waist."
Lindsay Clydesdale; A to Zoe of Fashion; Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland); May 11, 2010.

See more usage examples of extenuate in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood. -Henry Miller, writer (1891-1980)

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