See more synonyms for extremity on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural ex·trem·i·ties.
  1. the extreme or terminal point, limit, or part of something.
  2. a limb of the body.
  3. Usually extremities. the end part of a limb, as a hand or foot: to experience cold in one's extremities.
  4. Often extremities. a condition or circumstance of extreme need, distress, etc.: to suffer the extremities of being poor.
  5. the utmost or any extreme degree: the extremity of joy.
  6. an extreme or extraordinary measure, act, etc.: to go to any extremity to feed the children.
  7. extreme nature or character: the extremity of his views on foreign trade.
  8. 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 formssu·per·ex·trem·i·ty, noun, plural su·per·ex·trem·i·ties.

Synonyms for extremity

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

Examples from the Web for extremity

Contemporary Examples of extremity

Historical Examples of extremity

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for extremity


noun plural -ties
  1. the farthest or outermost point or section; termination
  2. the greatest or most intense degree
  3. an extreme condition or state, as of adversity or disease
  4. a limb, such as a leg, arm, or wing, or the part of such a limb farthest from the trunk
  5. (usually plural) 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

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

extremity in Medicine


  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.