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[ik-streem] /ɪkˈstrim/
adjective, extremer, extremest.
of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average:
extreme measures.
utmost or exceedingly great in degree:
extreme joy.
farthest from the center or middle; outermost; endmost:
the extreme limits of a town.
farthest, utmost, or very far in any direction:
an object at the extreme point of vision.
exceeding the bounds of moderation:
extreme fashions.
going to the utmost or very great lengths in action, habit, opinion, etc.:
an extreme conservative.
last or final:
extreme hopes.
Chiefly Sports. very dangerous or difficult:
extreme skiing.
the utmost or highest degree, or a very high degree:
cautious to an extreme.
one of two things as remote or different from each other as possible:
the extremes of joy and grief.
the furthest or utmost length; an excessive length, beyond the ordinary or average:
extremes in dress.
an extreme act, measure, condition, etc.:
the extreme of poverty.
  1. the first or the last term, as of a proportion or series.
  2. a relative maximum or relative minimum value of a function in a given region.
Logic. the subject or the predicate of the conclusion of a syllogism; either of two terms that are separated in the premises and brought together in the conclusion.
Archaic. the utmost point, or extremity, of something.
Origin of extreme
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin extrēmus, superlative of exterus “outward.” See exterior
Related forms
extremeness, noun
overextreme, adjective
quasi-extreme, adjective
superextreme, adjective
superextremely, adverb
superextremeness, noun
unextreme, adjective
2. greatest, highest; superlative. 3. ultimate, last, uttermost, remotest. 6. extravagant, immoderate, excessive, fanatical, uncompromising, unreasonable.
6. moderate.
Synonym Study
6. See radical. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for extremest
Historical Examples
  • In doing so, I had, of course, to use the extremest caution.

    The Room in the Dragon Volant J. Sheridan LeFanu
  • The mind of Imogen was now wrought up to the extremest distress.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • To her, too, it was apparent that she had been treated with extremest cruelty.

    Kept in the Dark

    Anthony Trollope
  • There is not the extremest trace of excitement or feeling of any kind in her tone.

    Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
  • The duke was obviously in a state of the extremest nervous tension.

  • The Ossetes have the father family in its extremest development.


    William Graham Sumner
  • Gratitude so pushed to its extremest limit, that we do not know to what to compare it.

    Notre-Dame de Paris Victor Hugo
  • Thou livest, thou mayst pass the extremest boundaries of age.

    Lucretia, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • But this involves the principle of authority in its extremest form.

    The Principles of Economics Frank A. Fetter
  • She embraced her with the extremest tenderness: 'Ah my sister!'

    Camilla Fanny Burney
British Dictionary definitions for extremest


being of a high or of the highest degree or intensity: extreme cold, extreme difficulty
exceeding what is usual or reasonable; immoderate: extreme behaviour
very strict, rigid, or severe; drastic: an extreme measure
(prenominal) farthest or outermost in direction: the extreme boundary
(meteorol) of, relating to, or characteristic of a continental climate
the highest or furthest degree (often in the phrases in the extreme, go to extremes)
(often pl) either of the two limits or ends of a scale or range of possibilities: extremes of temperature
  1. the first or last term of a series or a proportion
  2. a maximum or minimum value of a function
(logic) the subject or predicate of the conclusion of a syllogism
Derived Forms
extremeness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin extrēmus outermost, from exterus on the outside; see exterior
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for extremest



early 15c., from Old French extreme (13c.), from Latin extremus "outermost, utmost, farthest, last," superlative of exterus (see exterior).

In English as in Latin, not always felt as a superlative, hence more extreme, most extreme (which were condemned by Johnson). The noun is first recorded 1540s, originally of the end of life, cf. Latin in extremis. Extreme unction preserves the sense of "last, latest" (15c.). Extremes "opposite ends of anything" is from 1550s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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extremest in Science
  1. Either the first or fourth term of a proportion of four terms. In the proportion 2/3 = 4/6 , the extremes are 2 and 6. Compare mean.

  2. A maximum or minimum value of a function.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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