in extremis

in ex·​tre·​mis | \ˌin-ik-ˈstrē-məs, -ˈstrā- \

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

The result would be no mere picture but a trove of pixels against which to test our ideas about gravity, relativity and the behavior of matter in extremis. Alan Hirshfeld, WSJ, "Book Review: Feeling Gravity’s Pull," 16 Nov. 2018 The grand design of this more than 7½-hour work is revealed only through the gradual movement of the minds of the characters, who are flailing in extremis for a path out of abandonment, betrayal, bad faith and overwhelming terror. Charles Mcnulty,, "For the Berkeley Rep revival of 'Angels in America,' the play is the thing," 29 May 2018 This is a classic Schrader study of the male soul in extremis, seen with a bracing new clarity. Justin Chang,, "The bracing 'First Reformed,' starring a superb Ethan Hawke, resurrects Paul Schrader's career," 17 May 2018 On the left side of the screen Zama lies, in extremis, in the bottom of a canoe, while the right side of the screen is occupied by a vertical ribbon of vividly green vegetation as the boat slips through a mangrove swamp. WSJ, "‘Zama’ Review: Trapped in the Tropics," 26 Apr. 2018 And if that is still not enough, Democrats in extremis may concede that Mueller could retire with his minor scalps, and both sides then could call it quits, even-steven. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Scandal, Corruption, Lawbreaking — And So What?," 13 Feb. 2018 The commission, in its role as guardian of the EU treaties, has opened proceedings against the Polish government under Article 7 of the Lisbon treaty, which in extremis could see Poland stripped of its voting rights by the other governments. The Economist, "CharlemagneThe European Union’s budget may soon be weaponised," 18 Jan. 2018 Taken together, these three books suggest that universal truths, even in extremis, are elusive. Laura Miller, Slate Magazine, "Famous Last Words," 5 July 2017

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

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Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

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The first known use of in extremis was circa 1530

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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, -ˈstrā- \

Medical Definition of in extremis 

: at the point of death

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


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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