If circumstances extenuate someone’s actions in a questionable situation, you feel that it was reasonable for someone to break the usual rules; therefore, you partly excuse and sympathize with their wrongdoing.
When something attenuates, it lessens in size or intensity; it becomes thin or weakened.
Something tenuous is thin, weak, and unconvincing.
weakening in force or intensity
partially excusing or justifying
a partial excuse to mitigate censure
relatively small dimension through an object as opposed to its length or width
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