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Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin extremus, superl. of exter, exterus being on the outside


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 (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>


  • In mathematics, maxima and minima, known collectively as extrema (singular: extremum), are the largest value (maximum) or smallest value (minimum), that a function takes in a point either within a given neighborhood (local extremum) or on the function domain in its entirety (global or absolute extremum). More generally, the maxima and minima of a set (as defined in set theory) are the greatest and least values in the set. To locate extreme values is the basic objective of optimization.
  • Extreme weather includes weather phenomena that are at the extremes of the historical distribution, especially severe or unseasonal weather. The most commonly used definition of extreme weather is based on an event's climatological distribution. Extreme weather occurs only 5% or less of the time. According to climate scientists and meteorological researchers, extreme weather events are rare.
  • Extremism is a term used to describe the actions or ideologies of individuals or groups outside the perceived political center of a society; or otherwise claimed to violate common moral standards. In democratic societies, individuals or groups that advocate the replacement of democracy with a authoritarian regime are usually branded extremists, in authoritarian societies the opposite applies. The term is invariably, or almost invariably, used pejoratively. Extremism is usually contrasted with moderation, and extremists with moderates. (For example, in contemporary discussions in Western countries of Islam, or of Islamic political movements, it is common for there to be a heavy stress on the distinction between extremist and moderate Muslims. It is also not uncommon to necessarily define distinctions regarding extremist Christians as opposed to moderate Christians, as in countries such as the United States). Political agendas perceived as extremist often include those from the far left or far right as well as fundamentalism or, as a more general term, fanaticism.