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[ik-strem-i-tee] /ɪkˈstrɛm ɪ ti/
noun, plural extremities.
the extreme or terminal point, limit, or part of something.
a limb of the body.
Usually, extremities. the end part of a limb, as a hand or foot:
to experience cold in one's extremities.
Often, extremities. a condition or circumstance of extreme need, distress, etc.:
to suffer the extremities of being poor.
the utmost or any extreme degree:
the extremity of joy.
an extreme or extraordinary measure, act, etc.:
to go to any extremity to feed the children.
extreme nature or character:
the extremity of his views on foreign trade.
Archaic. a person's last moment before death.
Origin of extremity
First recorded in 1325-75; Middle English word from Latin word extrēmitās. See extreme, -ity
Related forms
superextremity, noun, plural superextremities.
1. end, termination; verge; border, boundary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for extremity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mary's usual quickness was not lacking even now, in this period of extremity.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Thus driven to extremity, the Melians surrendered at discretion.

  • At this moment a rumour was heard at the extremity of the long hall.

    Gomez Arias Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso
  • Perhaps a man never sees so much at a glance as when he is in a situation of extremity.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • It is rarely necessary, however, to go to such an extremity as suicide.

  • At this extremity of ill-doing she did not altogether blame Denas.

    A Singer from the Sea Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • Richard Morrow was wise when in his extremity he turned to Dr. Dudley.

British Dictionary definitions for extremity


noun (pl) -ties
the farthest or outermost point or section; termination
the greatest or most intense degree
an extreme condition or state, as of adversity or disease
a limb, such as a leg, arm, or wing, or the part of such a limb farthest from the trunk
(usually pl) (archaic) a drastic or severe measure
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 extremity

late 14c., from Old French estremite (13c.), from Latin extremitatem (nominative extremitas) "the end of a thing," from extremus; see extreme, the etymological sense of which is better preserved in this word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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extremity in Medicine

extremity ex·trem·i·ty (ĭk-strěm'ĭ-tē)

  1. An end of an elongated or pointed structure.

  2. A bodily limb or appendage.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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