ex·​treme | \ ik-ˈstrēm How to pronounce extreme (audio) \

Definition of extreme

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : existing in a very high degree extreme poverty
b : going to great or exaggerated lengths : radical went on an extreme diet
c : exceeding the ordinary, usual, or expected extreme weather conditions
2 archaic : last
3 : situated at the farthest possible point from a center the country's extreme north
4a : most advanced or thoroughgoing the extreme political left
b : maximum
5a : of, relating to, or being an outdoor activity or a form of a sport (such as skiing) that involves an unusually high degree of physical risk extreme mountain biking down steep slopes
b : involved in an extreme sport an extreme snowboarder



Definition of extreme (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : something situated at or marking one end or the other of a range extremes of heat and cold
b : the first term or the last term of a mathematical proportion
c : the major term or minor term of a syllogism
2a : a very pronounced or excessive degree
b : highest degree : maximum
3 : an extreme measure or expedient going to extremes
in the extreme
: to the greatest possible extent

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Other Words from extreme


extremeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for extreme

Synonyms: Adjective

farthermost, farthest, furthermost, furthest, outermost, outmost, remotest, ultimate, utmost

Antonyms: Adjective

inmost, innermost, nearest

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Choose the Right Synonym for extreme


excessive, immoderate, inordinate, extravagant, exorbitant, extreme mean going beyond a normal limit. excessive implies an amount or degree too great to be reasonable or acceptable. excessive punishment immoderate implies lack of desirable or necessary restraint. immoderate spending inordinate implies an exceeding of the limits dictated by reason or good judgment. inordinate pride extravagant implies an indifference to restraints imposed by truth, prudence, or good taste. extravagant claims for the product exorbitant implies a departure from accepted standards regarding amount or degree. exorbitant prices extreme may imply an approach to the farthest limit possible or conceivable but commonly means only to a notably high degree. extreme shyness

Examples of extreme in a Sentence


The plant is sensitive to extreme heat and cold. They are living in extreme poverty. She went on an extreme diet. Many thought that the punishment was too extreme for the crime. The plan was rejected as too extreme. This is an extreme example of what can happen when a company grows too quickly. He has extreme opinions when it comes to politics. Members of the extreme right opposed the legislation.


After spending lavishly for years, the company has now gone to the opposite extreme and has cut expenses drastically. His mood changed from one extreme to the other.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Remaining nonplussed in the face of extreme bodily risk is all in a day’s work for Vikander, who has made a career out of shape-shifting seamlessly into radically strong female characters in thoughtful indie films and commercial blockbusters alike. Harper's BAZAAR, "Alicia Vikander Leaps to New Heights—in Life and Fashion," 13 Mar. 2019 That includes sleeping with a headlight and having such extreme paranoia that even a garden gnome freaks him out. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""On My Block" Season 2's New Trailer Proves Ruby Is Definitely Back," 12 Mar. 2019 Researchers on Earth call these isolated, confined, and extreme (ICE) environments. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Tourist's Guide to Space," 12 Mar. 2019 The dry, windy conditions throughout California mean Southern California has also been at extreme risk for fires. Eliza Barclay, Vox, "Photos: what California’s lethal wildfires look like on the ground," 15 Nov. 2018 Another study that year says climate change is increasing extreme wildfire risk in California where wildfires already are year round. Seth Borenstein, Fox News, "Science Says: 'The warmer it is, the more fire we see'," 19 Aug. 2018 Some have argued that the quest for thrilling footage led the team to take more extreme risks, without the safeguards or oversight that might have been imposed by a more conventional media organization. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "3YouTube Daredevils Dead in Waterfall Accident," 7 July 2018 An earlier version of the legislation specified reasons, such as mental illness, why a judge might grant an extreme-risk protection order. Joshua Miller, BostonGlobe.com, "People deemed to be a danger can lose gun rights under new law," 3 July 2018 He is being held without bail due to extreme risk to the community, said Judge Russell Comstock. Katy Moeller And Christina Lords, idahostatesman, "3-year-old birthday girl dies after Boise stabbing, suspect charged with murder," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

It is rendered, by Robbi Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renzi, in the fierce, retrofuturistic extremes of color and angle that defined the internet at its inception. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Zoe Quinn’s Goddess Mode makes cyberpunk magic from the internet," 27 Dec. 2018 But this is part of Lewis’s point: This world, in a way that’s unusual, has extremely porous borders between the mainstream and the extreme, and that’s a consequence of both ideological intention and algorithmic design. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The rise of YouTube’s reactionary right," 24 Sep. 2018 Stress in a plant is most often caused by insufficient and uneven moisture, but temperature extremes and poor nutrition can also play a part. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Growing Crisp Cucumbers," 12 July 2018 Other people go to the opposite extreme and overreact to their fears. Liz Bentley /, NBC News, "Lean into your fear to get better results," 27 Apr. 2018 As more people move around the world – spurred by conflict, climate extremes, and poverty – the cities and countries that host new arrivals are trying to figure out what kind of welcome to offer. Lin Taylor, The Christian Science Monitor, "Vienna integrates young migrants with free college," 28 Mar. 2018 Anthony is known for his videos of extreme and sometimes dangerous homemade lasers. Sophie Weiner, Popular Mechanics, "YouTuber Who Builds Extreme DIY Lasers Suspended From Site," 19 Mar. 2018 In fact, the most reliable climate models indicate that cold extremes and heavy snowfall should decrease as the Arctic continues to warm. Brandon Miller, CNN, "As the Arctic warms, nor'easters may get worse," 13 Mar. 2018 But this extreme met its match in another: Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski turned heads with their microbangs at Tomo Koizumi, and Rachel Comey’s models walked the runway with cutting-edge chops. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "The 5 Most Show-Stealing Beauty Trends at New York Fashion Week," 14 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extreme.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of extreme


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for extreme


Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin extremus, superlative of exter, exterus being on the outside — more at exterior

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Statistics for extreme

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for extreme

The first known use of extreme was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for extreme



English Language Learners Definition of extreme

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: very great in degree
: very serious or severe
: very far from agreeing with the opinions of most people : not moderate



English Language Learners Definition of extreme (Entry 2 of 2)

: either one of two opposite conditions, feelings, positions, etc., that are thought of as being far from what is normal or reasonable
: an amount or degree that is far beyond what is normal or reasonable


ex·​treme | \ ik-ˈstrēm How to pronounce extreme (audio) \

Kids Definition of extreme

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : very great in degree or severity extreme heat extreme poverty
2 : farthest away the extreme edge
3 : more demanding or dangerous than normal extreme sports

Other Words from extreme

extremely adverb



Kids Definition of extreme (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something as far as possible from a center or from its opposite extremes of heat and cold
2 : the greatest possible degree : maximum He pushed the athletes to the extreme.

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More from Merriam-Webster on extreme

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with extreme

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for extreme

Spanish Central: Translation of extreme

Nglish: Translation of extreme for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extreme for Arabic Speakers

Comments on extreme

What made you want to look up extreme? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to boil down or concentrate

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