in·​tense | \ in-ˈten(t)s How to pronounce intense (audio) \

Definition of intense

1a : existing in an extreme degree The excitement was intense. intense pain
b : having or showing a characteristic in extreme degree intense colors
2 : marked by or expressive of great zeal, energy, determination, or concentration intense effort
3a : exhibiting strong feeling or earnestness of purpose an intense student
b : deeply felt

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Other Words from intense

intensely adverb
intenseness noun

Examples of intense in a Sentence

He shielded his eyes from the intense flash of light. She has an intense dislike for her husband's friend. After many years of intense study, he received his medical degree. School reform is a subject of intense debate. The work requires intense concentration. He was an intense young man who was very determined to do well in school.
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Recent Examples on the Web That was before the coronavirus pandemic effectively shut down the American economy, putting the Fed under intense pressure to blunt the impacts of a devastating recession. Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, "Senate banking panel to move forward with nominating Judy Shelton to the Fed’s board," 10 July 2020 Faced with intense pressure to develop drugs and vaccines at previously unimaginable speed to push back a global pandemic, researchers may have actually slowed down the rate of progress. Matthew Herper, STAT, "Data show panic and disorganization dominate the study of Covid-19 drugs," 6 July 2020 Under intense pressure, Facebook last week announced new policies to crack down on hateful comments from politicians, but Lubetzky says those steps aren't enough. Danielle Abril, Fortune, "KIND’s founder on joining the Facebook ad boycott: ‘It was not an easy decision’," 2 July 2020 The 2-million-strong Townsend Plan – with 8,000 clubs across the country – placed intense pressure on Congress. Edwin Amenta, The Conversation, "To achieve a new New Deal, Democrats must learn from the old one," 26 June 2020 Government agencies have been under intense pressure to buy protective equipment to guard employees against the coronavirus. Yeganeh Torbati, ProPublica, "The Indian Health Service Wants to Return 1 Million KN95 Masks It Bought From a Former White House Official," 25 June 2020 Campaign manager Brad Parscale is under intense pressure after Saturday’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Republican strategists: Trump offering muddled messaging amid glaring mistakes," 24 June 2020 Increasingly, county public health officers are coming under intense pressure from communities to lift restrictions and let people return to work and social lives. Erin Allday,, "How can Bay Area counties prove they remain safe? ‘It’s a scoreboard’," 22 June 2020 Arizona health-care workers, in an unprecedented public health crisis, are fighting a relentless disease that is filling up hospital beds and putting intense pressure on the health care system. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "Doctors talk about the COVID-19 'beast': 'I don't even know how to tell you how our hearts break'," 22 June 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for intense

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin intensus, from past participle of intendere to stretch out

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Time Traveler for intense

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for intense

Last Updated

20 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce intense (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of intense

: very great in degree : very strong
: done with or showing great energy, enthusiasm, or effort
of a person : very serious


in·​tense | \ in-ˈtens How to pronounce intense (audio) \

Kids Definition of intense

1 : very great in degree : extreme intense heat
2 : done with great energy, enthusiasm, or effort intense concentration
3 : having very strong feelings an intense person

Other Words from intense

intensely adverb


in·​tense | \ in-ˈten(t)s How to pronounce intense (audio) \

Medical Definition of intense

1a : existing in an extreme degree intense anxiety
b : extremely marked or pronounced a neurodermatitis with intense itching and burning of the skin— H. G. Armstrong
c : very large or considerable intense radiation
2a : feeling deeply especially by nature or temperament
b : deeply felt intense emotions

Other Words from intense

intensely adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on intense

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for intense

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with intense

Spanish Central: Translation of intense

Nglish: Translation of intense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intense for Arabic Speakers

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