Eggcorn Forum

Discussions about eggcorns and related topics

You are not logged in.


Registrations are currently closed because of a technical problem. Please send email to if you wish to register.

The forum administrator reserves the right to request users to plausibly demonstrate that they are real people with an interest in the topic of eggcorns. Otherwise they may be removed with no further justification. Likewise, accounts that have not been used for posting may be removed.

Thanks for your understanding.

Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2011-07-02 12:38:52

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2598

extenduating << extenuating

In an earlier thread contributors to this forum discussed the shift from “extenuating circumstances” to “attenuating circumstances.” The terms “extenuating” and “attenuating,” the thread notes, hail from the same Latin root.

Another common eggcorn of “extenuating” does not share its root: “extenduating circumstances” imports the word “extend,” which derives from the Latin ex + tenare, to stretch; “extenuating” descends from Latin ex + tenuis, thin.

As an independent verb, “extenuate,” which means to thin out/diminish/weaken/disparage/underrate, has fallen on hard times. On this Google Ngram we can see the steady 200-year decline of the verb. We can also see that an idiomatized form, the adjectival participle in the phrase “extenuating circumstances,” has trended in the opposite direction, becoming more common with the passing decades. As the base verb disappears, the idiomatized form becomes more opaque, more prone to be replaced.

Perhaps those who substitute “extenduating” for “extentuating” are thinking about circumstances that extend the deadline for accountability, circumstances that allow, as it were, the chickens of consequence to come home to roost an hour or two later than usual.

Three of the 200+ examples on the web:

AIDs forum: “There have only been an handful a cases of transmission in this way in the last 25 years and those had extenduating circumstances.”

Question on help forum: “The loan ballooned in March of 08, however seller decided to finance us for another year, due to extenduating circumstances. ”

Bon Jovi forum: “Generally first time DUI offenders with no other extenduating circumstances or other prior record in CA will get Informal Probation. ”

Last edited by kem (2015-11-19 17:48:25)

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



#2 2011-07-03 00:35:57

From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 1101

Re: extenduating << extenuating

Good one, almost Archie Bunker level. Here’s another that occurs to me, though it’s not as common. Extranuating circumstances are those that are extraneous and cause additional strain.

And trust me, that “extranuating circumstances” clause is not nearly as good as its supposed to be.
Health care program bitterness



Board footer

Powered by PunBB
PunBB is © 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson
Individual posters retain the copyright to their posts.

RSS feeds: active topicsall new posts