• synonyms


adjective, ex·trem·er, ex·trem·est.
  1. of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average: extreme measures.
  2. utmost or exceedingly great in degree: extreme joy.
  3. farthest from the center or middle; outermost; endmost: the extreme limits of a town.
  4. farthest, utmost, or very far in any direction: an object at the extreme point of vision.
  5. exceeding the bounds of moderation: extreme fashions.
  6. going to the utmost or very great lengths in action, habit, opinion, etc.: an extreme conservative.
  7. last or final: extreme hopes.
  8. Chiefly Sports. very dangerous or difficult: extreme skiing.
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  1. the utmost or highest degree, or a very high degree: cautious to an extreme.
  2. one of two things as remote or different from each other as possible: the extremes of joy and grief.
  3. the furthest or utmost length; an excessive length, beyond the ordinary or average: extremes in dress.
  4. an extreme act, measure, condition, etc.: the extreme of poverty.
  5. Mathematics.
    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.
  6. 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.
  7. Archaic. the utmost point, or extremity, of something.
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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


Synonym study

6. See radical.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


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.


    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.

British Dictionary definitions for extremest


  1. being of a high or of the highest degree or intensityextreme cold; extreme difficulty
  2. exceeding what is usual or reasonable; immoderateextreme behaviour
  3. very strict, rigid, or severe; drastican extreme measure
  4. (prenominal) farthest or outermost in directionthe extreme boundary
  5. meteorol of, relating to, or characteristic of a continental climate
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  1. the highest or furthest degree (often in the phrases in the extreme, go to extremes)
  2. (often plural) either of the two limits or ends of a scale or range of possibilitiesextremes of temperature
  3. maths
    1. the first or last term of a series or a proportion
    2. a maximum or minimum value of a function
  4. logic the subject or predicate of the conclusion of a syllogism
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Derived Formsextremeness, 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

extremest in Science


  1. 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.
  2. A maximum or minimum value of a function.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.