extenuating circumstances

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extenuating circumstances

A non-specific reason that excuses something that would otherwise be troublesome or problematic. All I heard was that the professor gave her an extension on her term paper due to extenuating circumstances.
See also: circumstance
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

extenuating circumstances

special (but otherwise unspecified) circumstances that account for an irregular or improper way of doing something. Mary was permitted to arrive late because of extenuating circumstances. Due to extenuating circumstances, the teacher will not meet with the class today.
See also: circumstance
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

extenuating circumstances

A situation or condition that provides an excuse for an action, as in Although Nancy missed three crucial rehearsals, there were extenuating circumstances, so she was not dismissed . This expression was originally legal terminology, denoting circumstances that partly excuse a crime and therefore call for less punishment or damages. [c. 1600]
See also: circumstance
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In mitigation of the sentence every extenuating circumstance - if circumstances can extenuate the worst of crimes - may honestly be pleaded; and will no doubt have due weight with those whose painful duty is to hold the balance of life and death.
What somewhat extenuates Laski's inventions, however, is that they lacked malice and were mostly self-puffery.