in extremis

in ex·​tre·​mis | \ ˌin-ik-ˈstrē-məs How to pronounce in extremis (audio) , -ˈstrā- How to pronounce in extremis (audio) \

Definition of in extremis

: in extreme circumstances especially : at the point of death

Examples of in extremis in a Sentence

They are helping a family in extremis.
Recent Examples on the Web Scarcity is also context dependent, in a desert, where water is scarce, no amount of gold nor bitcoin can buy water in extremis. Vipin Bharathan, Forbes, 29 Aug. 2021 And that means determining how to help host-nation forces without having to put our troops on the front lines, except in extremis. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 20 Aug. 2021 For a period of two years, the customary ban was lifted for museums that found themselves in extremis, unable to care for their collections. Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2021 Here, a cruise story (in extremis) that relates these unique dynamics. Jack Fowler, National Review, 30 Apr. 2021 But even in extremis, the antimask brigade were fully committed to their rejection of science, and of the common good. Yvonne Abraham,, 13 Jan. 2021 Under the wrong conditions transformers can become less efficient or even, in extremis, blow up. The Economist, 4 June 2020 Two days later, the patient’s daughter calls; her father is in extremis. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2020 The American military is recognized as a formidable fighting force, with logistical, communications and supply networks that excel in extremis. New York Times, 25 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'in extremis.' 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 in extremis

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for in extremis


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The first known use of in extremis was circa 1530

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Cite this Entry

“In extremis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for in extremis

in extremis


English Language Learners Definition of in extremis

: at the point of death
: in a very difficult situation

in extremis

in ex·​tre·​mis | \ ˌin-ik-ˈstrē-məs How to pronounce in extremis (audio) , -ˈstrā- How to pronounce in extremis (audio) \

Medical Definition of in extremis

: at the point of death


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