in extremis


in ex·​tre·​mis ˌin-ik-ˈstrē-məs How to pronounce in extremis (audio) -ˈstrā- How to pronounce in extremis (audio)
: in extreme circumstances
especially : at the point of death

Example Sentences

They are helping a family in extremis.
Recent Examples on the Web Theirs are lives in extremis. Brad Leithauser, WSJ, 7 Jan. 2022 Second place in that category goes to general surgeons, who may reasonably be in a hurry to get to a patient in extremis. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, 1 Mar. 2020 Machoian lingers too long on the protagonist’s stunned reaction — freak-out, panic, nausea, tears, anger — blurring the line between the character’s shattered state and Crawford flexing his acting muscles in an extended improv exercise of a man in extremis. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 June 2022 Seeing characters carry on their human stories in extremis may be perversely comforting and useful; the continuation of crushes, of barbeques, of flirting, of worrying about whether your child is a good enough parent, mid-apocalypse, somehow reassures the anxious or languishing reader. Katie Roiphe, WSJ, 31 Mar. 2022 This work led to the first sophisticated 2-D model of a giant star in extremis — and this time, the model star exploded. Dolly Setton, Discover Magazine, 30 July 2014 Archival D&G pieces from the ’80s and ’90s are popular at the moment; the sacred and the profane resonate in a world in extremis. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, 10 July 2022 But even in extremis, business leaders might want to consider whether a layoff is truly unavoidable. Bygeoff Colvin, Fortune, 1 Feb. 2023 Gagnidze can’t quite manage real terror and fury at Gilda’s abduction or convincing horror at discovering her in extremis. Dallas News, 10 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'in extremis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



First Known Use

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of in extremis was circa 1530

Dictionary Entries Near in extremis

Cite this Entry

“In extremis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Medical Definition

in extremis

in ex·​tre·​mis ˌin-ik-ˈstrē-məs How to pronounce in extremis (audio) -ˈstrā- How to pronounce in extremis (audio)
: at the point of death
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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