Extenuate is a verb that means to lessen the severity of.
The Latin word tenuare (TEN ooh are ay) means ‘to make thin.’ Combined with the prefix EX, we get the basis of our word of the day. Extenuate is often used in a legal context as in ‘extenuating circumstances,’ but you don’t need to be in a courtroom to find a use for it. For example: I didn’t think anything could extenuate the damage from the flood. But it turned out that all I had to do was soak up the floor with rags and harm was immediately eased.