Meaning of EXTREME in English


I. ikˈstrēm, ekˈ-, in “extreme unction”often ÷ˌek-(ˌ)strēm adjective

( often -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin extremus, superl. of exter, exterus on the outside, outward — more at exterior


a. : existing in the highest or the greatest possible degree : very great : very intense

living in extreme poverty

the extreme cold of the polar regions

b. : marked by great severity or violence : most severe : most stringent : drastic , desperate

resorting to extreme measures to combat crime

an extreme action that crushed their spirits


(1) : going to great or exaggerated lengths : uncompromising , radical , fanatical

he was quite extreme in his views on the matter

(2) : going beyond the limits of reason, necessity, or propriety : immoderate

avidly following the most extreme fashion in clothes

a religion whose tenets were austere and extreme

: exceeding the ordinary, usual, or expected : excessive

an extreme descent

d. : having an implied or specified characteristic to the fullest possible extent

the nature of real need can be studied best in extreme cases

in politics he sits at the extreme right

2. archaic : last , final

thy extreme hope, the loveliest and the last — P.B.Shelley


a. : situated at the farthest possible point from a center : most remote : farthest , outermost

the extreme edge of the city

traveling to the extreme borders of the country

an extreme outpost

b. : situated at the very tip of either of two ends (as of a line)

the extreme end of the road


a. : farthest advanced in any direction : most advanced : utmost

standing at the extreme edge of the river

b. : maximum

a folding table with an extreme length of 6 feet

Synonyms: see excessive

II. noun

( -s )


a. : an extreme state or condition

an extreme of poverty

b. extremes plural , obsolete : critical circumstances : straits, hardships

resolute in most extremes — Shakespeare



(1) : an extreme variation

extremes of behavior weaving into one another as if to spite all moralists — Irving Howe

: something situated at, serving to mark, or terminating one end or the other of a total range or extent

the temperature in the desert ranges astonishingly between extremes of heat and cold

(2) : one of two things related in some way (as by nature, condition, or position) and at the same time removed from, contrasting with, or opposed to each other to a very great extent or as far as possible

the extremes of passion that are called love and hatred


(1) : the first term or the last term of a mathematical proportion

(2) : the greatest or the least of several magnitudes

c. logic : a term appearing in an extreme position: as

(1) : the subject or predicate of a proposition — contrasted with copula

(2) : the major term or minor term of a syllogism — compare middle term

3. archaic : a terminal part of a body : extremity



(1) : a very pronounced or excessive degree

there is no need to grieve to such an extreme

a more stable and democratic regime with less extremes of wealth and poverty — William Clark

he aroused extremes of admiration and hostility — Robert Lawrence

: excess

this world of violent extremes — Huntington Hartford

(2) : the utmost conceivable or tolerable degree : the utter limit

enthusiasm that was carried to an extreme

: maximum

prejudice is found at its extreme in that century

b. : an extreme measure or expedient : an extreme step

forced to an unpleasant extreme

: utmost length

he went to extremes to satisfy their curiosity — P.J.O'Brien

also : an extreme instance or case

an extreme they could not visualize

- in the extreme

III. adverb

archaic : extremely

IV. adjective

1. : of, relating to, or being an outdoor activity or a form of a sport (as skiing) that involves an unusually high degree of physical risk

2. : involved in an extreme sport

extreme snowboarder

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.