What does the word extenuate mean?

Usage examples for extenuate

  1. Sinclair had declared several times before his death, for he survived that night, that he received his wound from Savage; nor did Savage at his trial deny the fact, but endeavoured partly to extenuate it, by urging the suddenness of the whole action, and the impossibility of any ill design, or premeditated malice, and partly to justify it by the necessity of self- defence, and the hazard of his own life, if he had lost that opportunity of giving the thrust. – The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753),Vol. V. by Theophilus Cibber
  2. Cavour did not extenuate the gravity of the responsibility which he accepted when he advised the king to sign away national territory without the sanction of Parliament. – Cavour by Countess Evelyn Martinengo-Cesaresco
  3. He would not endeavour to extenuate his own conduct, but submitted that he was entitled to a lenient judgment, on the ground that a hare, the pursuit of which was the indirect cause of the whole mishap, had jumped up from behind a stone.... – When Ghost Meets Ghost by William Frend De Morgan