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[in-ten-si-tee] /ɪnˈtɛn sɪ ti/
noun, plural intensities.
the quality or condition of being intense.
great energy, strength, concentration, vehemence, etc., as of activity, thought, or feeling:
He went at the job with great intensity.
a high or extreme degree, as of cold or heat.
the degree or extent to which something is intense.
a high degree of emotional excitement; depth of feeling:
The poem lacked intensity and left me unmoved.
the strength or sharpness of a color due especially to its degree of freedom from admixture with its complementary color.
Physics. magnitude, as of energy or a force per unit of area, volume, time, etc.
  1. the correlate of physical energy and the degree of loudness of a speech sound.
  2. the relative carrying power of vocal utterance.
Origin of intensity
First recorded in 1655-65; intense + -ity
Related forms
overintensity, noun
superintensity, noun
5. passion, emotion, energy, vigor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for intensity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He wanted Avice Milbrey,—wanted her with an intensity as unreasoning as it was resistless.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • She spoke softly, but with an intensity of supreme feeling in her voice.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Yet, in the intensity of her utterance, the feeble whisper struck like a shriek of horror.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • It is all Hamlet over again, Hamlet wrought up to a higher pitch of intensity.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • No one ever felt this intensity of jealous rage about a mother or a sister.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
British Dictionary definitions for intensity


noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being intense
extreme force, degree, or amount
  1. a measure of field strength or of the energy transmitted by radiation See radiant intensity, luminous intensity
  2. (of sound in a specified direction) the average rate of flow of sound energy, usually in watts, for one period through unit area at right angles to the specified direction I
(geology) Also called earthquake intensity. a measure of the size of an earthquake based on observation of the effects of the shock at the earth's surface. Specified on the Mercalli scale See Mercalli scale, Richter scale
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 intensity

formed in English 1660s from intense + -ity. Earlier was intenseness (1610s). Sense of "extreme depth of feeling" first recorded 1830.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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