Meaning of EXTREME in English

transcription, транскрипция: [ ɪkstri:m ]

( extremes)

Frequency: The word is one of the 3000 most common words in English.


Extreme means very great in degree or intensity.

The girls were afraid of snakes and picked their way along with extreme caution.

...people living in extreme poverty.

...the author’s extreme reluctance to generalise.

= great

ADJ : usu ADJ n


You use extreme to describe situations and behaviour which are much more severe or unusual than you would expect, especially when you disapprove of them because of this.

The extreme case was Poland, where 29 parties won seats...

It is hard to imagine Lineker capable of anything so extreme...

ADJ [ disapproval ]


You use extreme to describe opinions, beliefs, or political movements which you disapprove of because they are very different from those that most people would accept as reasonable or normal.

This extreme view hasn’t captured popular opinion.

...the racist politics of the extreme right.

≠ moderate

ADJ : usu ADJ n [ disapproval ]


You can use extremes to refer to situations or types of behaviour that have opposite qualities to each other, especially when each situation or type of behaviour has such a quality to the greatest degree possible.

...a ‘middle way’ between the extremes of success and failure...

They can withstand extremes of temperature and weather without fading or cracking.

N-COUNT : usu pl , oft N of n


The extreme end or edge of something is its furthest end or edge.

...the room at the extreme end of the corridor.

...winds from the extreme north.

= far



If a person goes to extremes or takes something to extremes , they do or say something in a way that people consider to be unacceptable, unreasonable, or foolish.

The police went to the extremes of installing the most advanced safety devices in the man’s house...

The doctor told me not to mention dieting to her in case she took it to the extreme...

PHRASE : V and N inflect


You use in the extreme after an adjective in order to emphasize what you are saying, especially when you want to indicate that it is something which is undesirable or very surprising. ( FORMAL )

It is proving controversial in the extreme...

PHRASE : adj PHR [ emphasis ]

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.