Meaning of EXTREME in English

I. ex ‧ treme 1 S3 W3 /ɪkˈstriːm/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ extreme , ↑ extremism , ↑ extremist , ↑ extremity ; adjective : ↑ extreme , ↑ extremist ; adverb : ↑ extremely ]

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: French ; Origin: extrême , from Latin extremus 'most outward' , from exter ; ⇨ ↑ external ]

1 . [only before noun] very great in degree:

Extreme poverty still exists in many rural areas.

extreme care/caution

It is necessary to use extreme caution with chemicals.

extreme cold

He had extreme difficulty getting hold of the ingredients.

2 . very unusual and severe or serious

extreme example/case

an extreme case of cruelty

Force is only justified in extreme circumstances.

extreme weather/conditions etc

3 . extreme west/end/left etc the part furthest to the west, nearest the end etc:

on the extreme edge of the cliff

4 . extreme opinions, beliefs, or organizations, especially political ones, are considered by most people to be unacceptable and unreasonable:

extreme right-wing nationalists

5 . [only before noun] extreme sports/surfing/skiing etc an extreme sport is one that is done in a way that has much more risk and so is more dangerous than an ordinary form of the sport

6 . extreme athlete/surfer/skier etc someone who does extreme sports:

Extreme surfers will ride waves that reach heights of more than fifty feet.

II. extreme 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ extreme , ↑ extremism , ↑ extremist , ↑ extremity ; adjective : ↑ extreme , ↑ extremist ; adverb : ↑ extremely ]

1 . a situation, quality etc which is as great as it can possibly be – used especially when talking about two opposites

extreme of

The bacteria can withstand extremes of heat and cold.

In fact, the truth lies between the two extremes.

at the other/opposite extreme

At the other extreme is a country like Switzerland with almost no unemployment.

Advertisements seem to go from one extreme to the other (=change from one extreme thing to something totally opposite) .

2 . in the extreme to a very great degree:

This kind of experiment seems cruel in the extreme.

3 . to extremes if someone does something to extremes, they do it to a point beyond what is normal or acceptable

take/carry something to extremes

Problems only occur when this attitude is taken to extremes.

She had gone to extremes to avoid seeing him.

• • •


▪ right-wing adjective a right-wing person or group wants low taxes, a strong army and police force, and the individual to be free from government interference as much as possible:

right-wing political parties


Some of his supporters are very right-wing.


right-wing policies on gun control

▪ left-wing adjective a left-wing person or group wants the government to make society more equal by increasing taxes for rich people, and taking control of important industries and services:

a left-wing newspaper


His views are very left-wing.

▪ green adjective [usually before noun] supporting policies and principles which will protect the environment:

green politicians


the Green Party


The government is under pressure to improve its green credentials (=to seem more like it wants to protect the environment) .

▪ radical adjective supporting political ideas that will involve great change:

radical politicians


a radical economic reform programme

▪ liberal adjective supporting political ideas that will allow people to have greater freedom:

They want the government to have a more liberal policy on drugs.

▪ moderate adjective having political opinions which are not extreme:

People generally become more moderate as they get older.


The bill is supported by moderate Republicans.

▪ extreme adjective having political opinions which are considered to be very unreasonable by many people:

His views on immigration are very extreme.


an extreme right-wing organization

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.