American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


EXTRE'ME, adjective [Latin extremus, last.] Outermost; utmost; farthest; at the utmost point, edge or border; as the extreme verge or point of a thing.

1. Greatest; most violent; utmost; as extreme pain, grief, or suffering; extreme joy or pleasure.

2. Last; beyond which there is none; as an extreme remedy.

3. Utmost; worst or best that can exist or be supposed; as an extreme case.

4. Most pressing; as extreme necessity.

Extreme unction, among the Romanists, is the anointing of a sick person with oil, when decrepit with age or affected with some mortal disease, and usually just before death. It is applied to the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, hands, feet and reins of penitents, and is supposed to represent the grace of God poured into the soul.

Extreme and mean proportion, in geometry, is when a line is so divided, that the whole line is to the greater segment, as the segment is to the less; or when a line is so divided, that the rectangle under the whole line and the lesser segment is equal to the square of the greater segment.

EXTRE'ME, noun The utmost point or verge of a thing; that part which terminates a body; extremity.

1. Utmost point; furthest degree; as the extremes of heat and cold; the extremes of virtue and vice. Avoid extremes. Extremes naturally beget each other.

There is a natural progression from the extreme of anarchy to the extreme of tyranny.

2. In logic, the extremes or extreme terms of a syllogism are the predicate and subject. Thus, 'man is an animal: Peter is a man, therefore Peter is an animal; ' the word animal is the greater extreme and man the medium.

3. In mathematics, the extremes are the first and last terms of a proportion; as, when three magnitudes are proportional, the rectangle contained by the extremes is equal contained by the extremes is equal to the square of the mean.