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

Antonyms: Adjective

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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

Adjective 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. Noun 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 The wacky extreme mini-golf competition, for which Curry serves as executive producer and resident golf pro, returns another hilarious season. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 13 June 2021 Some firms in Europe are resorting to extreme methods, like using truck convoys to get products including automotive parts, bikes and scooters from China, said Espin at the European Shippers’ Council. Alex Longley, Time, 13 June 2021 Some legal analysts argue that the rulings from the court may foreshadow a complete re-thinking of qualified immunity, though others point out the cases in question may merit extreme circumstances. Matthew Brown, USA Today, 13 June 2021 The extreme temperatures are atypical in Los Angeles in June, which is usually still mired in a marine layer with clouds and fog, Woffard said. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2021 For some analysts, that opens the door to a hopeful scenario in which the United States and Europe move toward one other, moderating the most extreme aspects of confrontation versus conciliation in each others’ approaches. BostonGlobe.com, 12 June 2021 The threat of spreading of the Delta variant warrants serious precautions to avoid more extreme lockdown measures in a few weeks. David Holtgrave, CNN, 10 June 2021 Sophie wants justice for her trauma, and Eddie takes extreme measures to fight for his family. Washington Post, 9 June 2021 On closer inspection, though, Beijing’s actions reflect the government’s recognition that extreme measures are need. Therese Shaheen, National Review, 7 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sure, some salamanders and other lizards and amphibians are capable of regenerating something like a tail, but the axolotl takes that ability and turns it up to the extreme. Mike Wehner, BGR, 3 June 2021 Her finding is at the grim extreme of research on how well COVID-19 vaccines work in the many millions of people whose immune systems are suppressed by drugs or disease. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, 27 Apr. 2021 While Goop is on one extreme of the market potential of Cali sober, thousands of Californians are building wealth by trading in the goods and services of this lifestyle. Andrew Deangelo, Forbes, 7 Apr. 2021 Across its three-book arc, the Little Brother now achieves something similar: After driving his car to the extremes of digital idealism, Doctorow has backed it up to the other extreme of digital pessimism. Andy Greenberg, Wired, 12 Oct. 2020 At age 34, Keyes is a cheap flight hunter, to the extreme. Washington Post, 27 May 2021 Others have taken the message ''don't gain the pandemic 15'' to the extreme, restricting their diets to the point of anorexia. Lindsey Tanner, Star Tribune, 23 May 2021 For instance, models have predicted strong magnetic fields from the pulsar in the Crab nebula can boost particles to 0.1 PeV, but to reach 1 PeV, Cao says, all the parameters need to be pushed to the extreme. Ling Xin, Science | AAAS, 18 May 2021 Some experts fear coronavirus border crackdowns are pushing already-desperate migrants to the extreme. Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for extreme

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for extreme

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Extreme.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extreme. Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on extreme

Nglish: Translation of extreme for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extreme for Arabic Speakers


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