extenuate

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extenuate

verb absolve, acquit, allow for, attemper, attenuate, clear, condone, debilitate, deprive of strength, diminish, enervate, enfeeble, exculpate, excuse, forgive, justify, lessen, levare, lighten, make allowance for, make excuses for, make less serious, minuere, mitigare, mitigate, moderate, palliate, pardon, qualify, reduce, reduce in strength, soften, temper, thin, vindicate, weaken
See also: alleviate, attenuate, dilute, diminish, ease, excuse, lessen, moderate, modify, palliate

extenuate

to represent an offence or fault as being less serious than it appears, as by showing mitigating circumstances.
References in classic literature ?
Let him now be confronted with the evidence of the fact, and let him, if he be able, justify or extenuate the shameful outrage he has offered to the dictates of truth and to the rules of fair dealing.
If there were any thing to extenuate this breach of decorum by Maria, it was the manner in which it was effected.
but I have never been so fortunate as to secure his esteem, for to me he has been uniformly repulsive; yet I have endured it, as an old man’s whim, However, when he appears before me, as his judge, he shall find that his former conduct shall not aggravate, any more than his recent services shall extenuate, his crime.