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

Content often blurred the lines between innocuous and extreme: Users could easily tab between conversations about toys, video games, threats of violence and anti-Semitism. Dan Patterson, CBS News, "8chan users are moving to Discord, where your kids are playing video games," 26 Aug. 2019 In one of the more extreme examples, Pulley picked the SEC over the FBI. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "Behind the Scenes as SEC Refs Get a Unique Primer at Georgia Camp," 22 Aug. 2019 Bachelor/ette threads are the most highly concentrated and extreme versions of these encroachments. Wired, "The Beautiful Potential of Never-Ending Bachelor Parties," 22 Aug. 2019 Unless something unusual and extreme happens, a person with ovaries won’t suddenly wake up on their 35th birthday unable to conceive. Natasha Lavender, SELF, "So, Let’s Talk About That Whole Fertility and Age 35 Thing," 22 Aug. 2019 Without these currents, regional temperatures would be a lot more extreme. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "The Amazon rainforest is on fire. Here's what that means for the environment," 22 Aug. 2019 Xiaoyue Qin for Quartz Festival goers endured five days of extreme, windy weather: Heat in the mid-90sF° during the day followed by temperatures dropping into the low 50s at night. Youyou Zhou, Quartzy, "Inside Gobi Heaven, China’s Burning Man-style desert festival," 21 Aug. 2019 China’s disinformation efforts appear to be aimed at undermining support for the Hong Kong protests and portraying them as violent, extreme, and dangerous. Emily Stewart, Vox, "How China used Facebook and Twitter to spread disinformation about the Hong Kong protests," 20 Aug. 2019 More than 25 million acres of California wildlands are classified as under very high or extreme fire threat. Special To The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, "Wildfire toll leaves communities struggling to recover," 14 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Scientists say Alaska’s summer of record-trampling weather extremes primed the way for a resurgence of the wildfire season late in the summer. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "A summer of weather extremes set up Alaska for devastating August wildfires. Scientists say it’s likely to happen again.," 21 Aug. 2019 The authors also noted that many heat waves do not reach the temperature extremes used in the study. NBC News, "Electric fans aren't always best for cooling off. Here's why.," 5 Aug. 2019 Lava tubes are protected from the harsh environment of the lunar surface, which is bombarded by radiation and experiences temperature extremes. Leonard David, Scientific American, "Will Future Lunar Bases Be Underground?," 31 July 2019 But recently, Democratic candidates have taken that trope to identity-politics extremes. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Democratic Candidates Are Running a Race of Inauthenticity," 11 July 2019 Weather extremes are also a major part of Yellowstone history. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "It’s snowing in Yellowstone—on the first day of summer.," 21 June 2019 In season two, Eve can’t help herself from falling deeper down the well into Villanelle’s extremes. Tara Bitran, The Hollywood Reporter, "Kate Beckinsale, Mandy Moore, Sandra Oh and 7 Drama Actresses on How They Shape Their Characters," 7 June 2019 Every part of our climate crisis, from the extraction, refining and transport of fossil fuels, to the catastrophic weather extremes smashing the globe, is disproportionately impacting poor, black and brown communities. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Teen Vogue, "Climate Activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez: This Earth Day, I Believe Bernie Sanders Has Our Back on Climate Change," 22 Apr. 2019 Record temperatures have gone hand-in-hand with other climate extremes. chicagotribune.com, "July was the hottest month on Earth since records began in 1880," 15 Aug. 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

2 Sep 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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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