Definition of extreme in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪkˈstriːm/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈstriːm/


1Reaching a high or the highest degree; very great: extreme cold
More example sentences
  • You are depending upon yourself to a degree that can cause extreme unease, but this is acute to all species of creativity.
  • He configured power to such an extreme degree in our system that the role of his character is absolutely central.
  • Or you're guilty of wishful thinking to an extreme degree.
utmost, uttermost, very great, greatest, greatest possible, maximum, maximal, highest, ultimate, supreme, paramount, great, acute, major, intense, enormous, severe, high, superlative, exceptional, extraordinary
1.1Not usual; exceptional: in extreme cases the soldier may be discharged
More example sentences
  • That category is extreme to exceptional drought conditions.
  • Said to possess exceptional drive and extreme intelligence, Norton's ambitions were not satisfied and he set up a doctors' deputising service.
  • Because commanders will probably not be willing to flatten whole blocks, they may expose their soldiers to the extreme perils of close-quarters combat.
1.2Very severe or serious: expulsion is an extreme sanction
More example sentences
  • It is argued that these punishments are extreme, severe and merciless.
  • The criteria for eligibility were extreme hardship, serious injury, damage to their homes, or bereavement directly as a result of the landslide.
  • If all he takes seriously is the extreme threat of force, then the threat needs to be seen and be seen as immediate.
drastic, serious, forceful, desperate, dire, radical, far-reaching, momentous, consequential, substantial;
unrelenting, unbending, unyielding, remorseless, uncompromising, unmitigated;
heavy, sharp, severe, austere, stern, harsh, tough, strict, rigorous, swingeing, punishing, punitive, excessive, oppressive, draconian, ferocious
1.3(Of a person or their opinions) far from moderate, especially politically: groups of his more extreme supporters rioted in front of parliament
More example sentences
  • Cadres of extreme fighters in terrorist and militant organizations have a proclivity for violence that evidence of its past futility cannot deter.
  • Although we've already seen that having the endorsement of the most extreme members of the Democratic Party does not ensure victory in the primaries.
  • This organisation is not simply an isolated enclave of extreme prejudice and backwardness.
radical, extremist, immoderate, exaggerated, intemperate, outrageous, unreasonable;
fanatical, diehard, overzealous, revolutionary, rebel, rebellious, subversive, militant, combative
informal over the top, OTT
British informal swivel-eyed
1.4Denoting or relating to a sport performed in a hazardous environment and involving great risk: extreme sports like snowboarding
More example sentences
  • If you want to perform extreme sports yourself, paragliding from a windy hilltop in Salta is an option.
  • ‘Today, the sports calendar is overloaded with TV sports and extreme games,’ said Paulick.
  • Veterans of white-water rafting, mountain climbing and other extreme sports, the six women who assemble in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains think they are ready for anything.
dangerous, hazardous, risky, high-risk;
reckless, foolhardy, daredevil, breakneck, daring, adventurous
2 [attributive] Furthest from the centre or a given point: the extreme north-west of Scotland
More example sentences
  • ST.PETERSBURG, situated in extreme Northwest Russia and formerly known as Petrograd or Leningrad, is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe.
  • Wedged by Northern Ireland into the extreme northwest of the island, its back to the sea, Donegal is linked to the republic by a slender isthmus.
  • These bases fell so swiftly that the US troops were able to attack Eniwetok atoll at the extreme north-west end of the island chain six weeks ahead of schedule.
furthest, farthest, furthermost, farthermost, furthest/farthest away, very, utmost, outermost, most distant, aftermost, endmost, ultimate, final, last, terminal, remotest
rare outmost


1Either of two abstract things that are as different from each other as possible: we represented opposite extremes of college society—he a member of the Old Guard, I one of the radicals
More example sentences
  • The two extremes represent opposite ways in which Christianity relates to modernity or postmodernity.
  • Highly constrained genomes such as those of birds represent the opposite extreme, in which the subgenomic populace suffers under a totalitarian regime.
  • Hunt's background represents the opposite extreme of Hanson in the ‘two nation’ model.
opposite, antithesis, (other) side of the coin, (opposite) pole, contrary, (exclusive) alternative;
opposing pair
rare antipode
1.1The highest or most extreme degree of something: extremes of temperature
More example sentences
  • The product is produced at temperature extremes exceeding 300 degrees below zero.
  • The simulation was run using these groupings representing extremes of possible variation caused through modeling population dynamics.
  • Featuring the latest in DX9 shader technology, Auto Assault will represent the extreme of what is possible on today's graphics cards.
limit, extremity, highest/greatest degree, maximum, height, high, low;
ceiling, top, zenith, pinnacle, peak, apex, climax, ultimate, optimum, acme, epitome
1.2A very severe or serious measure: the extreme of applying for poor relief
More example sentences
  • One can only deplore of course the barbarous extremes that some of this antipathy has taken.
  • The other extreme of course, which is presupposed in the above - is a retreat to solipsism, and thereby a denial of the other.
  • I took this person's behavior (something he hides from his friends and maybe from himself) and pushed it to the furthest extreme I could.
2 Logic The subject or predicate in a proposition, or the major or minor term in a syllogism (as contrasted with the middle term).
Example sentences
  • This idea has lately been taken to its logical extreme: Why not cut out the middleman and just let target customers make their own ads?
  • There is a potential misuse of the power function under the logical extreme when the null hypothesis is true.



extremes meet

proverb Opposite extremes have much in common.
Example sentences
  • Ironically enough, in Gramsci ‘the extremes meet,’ confirming the overlapping lineage of both left and right ideologies.
  • Genovese is, it should be said, an illuminating example of the way in which left-wing and right-wing extremes meet in a love of tyranny and a hatred of freedom.
  • In the recesses of the Middle East where extremes meet, dismay at the loss of innocent lives was tempered with happier emotions ranging from quiet satisfaction to open celebration.

go (or take something) to extremes

Take an extreme course of action; do something to an extreme degree: they took a commendable anti-ageist policy to extremes
More example sentences
  • Bodybuilders often have the mistaken belief that they must take their diets to extremes to take their physiques to extremes.
  • We're having fun with this, taking things to extremes.
  • I have started taking things to extremes lately, however.

in the extreme

To an extreme degree: the reasoning was convoluted in the extreme
More example sentences
  • The arguments against such a database are, with one exception, weak in the extreme.
  • Yet the demands on the players was intense in the extreme and they were an exhausted bunch by the end.
  • I have found this whole experience very frightening and worrying in the extreme.



Pronunciation: /ɪkˈstriːmnəs/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈstriːmnəs/
Example sentences
  • Though the study just described did not involve political or moral issues, the results show that one-sidedness, and consequently extremeness, can be heightened when people are communicating over the Internet.
  • The uniqueness of this religious community lies especially in its radical and stringent religious demands, mainly manifested in the extremeness of Torah studies within the hierarchy of values and practices.
  • Despite the extremeness of its interpretation and the uniqueness of its style, Klossowski's book is readily meaningful to academics because it proceeds in the established way.


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin extremus 'outermost, utmost', superlative of exterus 'outer'.

  • This comes via Old French from Latin extremus, literally ‘outermost’, the superlative of exterus ‘outer’ source of exterior (early 16th century).

Words that rhyme with extreme

abeam, agleam, beam, blaspheme, bream, deem, deme, downstream, dream, esteem, gleam, hakim, kilim, meme, midstream, Nîmes, régime, scheme, scream, seam, seem, steam, stream, supreme, team, teem, theme, upstream

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ex|treme

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