adjective, ex·trem·er, ex·trem·est.


Origin of extreme

1425–75; late Middle English < Latin extrēmus, superlative of exterus “outward.” See exterior
Related formsex·treme·ness, nouno·ver·ex·treme, adjectivequa·si-ex·treme, adjectivesu·per·ex·treme, adjectivesu·per·ex·treme·ly, adverbsu·per·ex·treme·ness, nounun·ex·treme, adjective

Synonyms for extreme

Synonym study

6. See radical.

Antonyms for extreme

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for extreme

Contemporary Examples of extreme

Historical Examples of extreme

  • The consciousness of recent misconduct filled her with extreme dread.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • "Hum," remarked Uncle Peter, in a tone to be noticed for its extreme dryness.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • She was blind and paralyzed, and on the extreme verge of eternity.

  • He was bothered, in a way, by the extreme mental caution of this fellow.

  • The issue was, however, disappointing to him in the extreme.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for extreme



being of a high or of the highest degree or intensityextreme cold; extreme difficulty
exceeding what is usual or reasonable; immoderateextreme behaviour
very strict, rigid, or severe; drastican extreme measure
(prenominal) farthest or outermost in directionthe 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 plural) either of the two limits or ends of a scale or range of possibilitiesextremes 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 Formsextremeness, noun

Word Origin for extreme

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

Word Origin and History for extreme

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

extreme in Science



Either the first or fourth term of a proportion of four terms. In the proportion 23 = 46, the extremes are 2 and 6. Compare mean.
A maximum or minimum value of a function.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.