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[in-tens] /ɪnˈtɛns/
existing or occurring in a high or extreme degree:
intense heat.
acute, strong, or vehement, as sensations, feelings, or emotions:
intense anger.
of an extreme kind; very great, as in strength, keenness, severity, or the like:
an intense gale.
having a characteristic quality in a high degree:
The intense sunlight was blinding.
strenuous or earnest, as activity, exertion, diligence, or thought:
an intense life.
exhibiting a high degree of some quality or action.
having or showing great strength, strong feeling, or tension, as a person, the face, or language.
susceptible to strong emotion; emotional:
an intense person.
(of color) very deep:
intense red.
Photography. dense (def 4).
Origin of intense
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin intēnsus, variant of intentus intent2, past participle of intendere to intend. See in-2, tense1
Related forms
intensely, adverb
intenseness, noun
hyperintense, adjective
hyperintensely, adverb
hyperintenseness, noun
overintense, adjective
overintensely, adverb
overintenseness, noun
superintense, adjective
superintensely, adverb
superintenseness, noun
Can be confused
intense, intensive, intents.
2. fervent, passionate, ardent, strong. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for intense
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The darkness was so intense that it could be felt like a mist.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • As he straightened, he realized that he was the object of an intense scrutiny.

    Millennium Everett B. Cole
  • This last subject was one of intense interest to young Wyndham.

    The Willoughby Captains Talbot Baines Reed
  • He paused and his next words were spoken in intense silence.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • But violence was sure to follow where the indignation was so intense and widespread.

    The Greater Republic Charles Morris
British Dictionary definitions for intense


of extreme force, strength, degree, or amount: intense heat
characterized by deep or forceful feelings: an intense person
Derived Forms
intensely, adverb
intenseness, noun
Usage note
Intense is sometimes wrongly used where intensive is meant: the land is under intensive (not intense) cultivation. Intensely is sometimes wrongly used where intently is meant: he listened intently (not intensely)
Word Origin
C14: from Latin intensus stretched, from intendere to stretch out; see intend
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 intense

c.1400, from Middle French intense (13c.), from Latin intensus "stretched, strained, tight," originally past participle of intendere "to stretch out, strain" (see intend); thus, literally, "high-strung." Related: Intensely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for intense



Excellent; cool (1970s+ Teenagers)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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