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[ik-strem-i-tee] /ɪkˈstrɛm ɪ ti/
noun, plural extremities.
the extreme or terminal point, limit, or part of something.
a limb of the body.
Usually, extremities. the end part of a limb, as a hand or foot:
to experience cold in one's extremities.
Often, extremities. a condition or circumstance of extreme need, distress, etc.:
to suffer the extremities of being poor.
the utmost or any extreme degree:
the extremity of joy.
an extreme or extraordinary measure, act, etc.:
to go to any extremity to feed the children.
extreme nature or character:
the extremity of his views on foreign trade.
Archaic. a person's last moment before death.
Origin of extremity
1325-75; Middle English < Latin extrēmitās. See extreme, -ity
Related forms
superextremity, noun, plural superextremities.
1. end, termination; verge; border, boundary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for extremities
  • Nerve endings in the extremities go numb or tingle as if pricked by thousands of needles.
  • The machine symbolizes the industrial forestry that dominates the southern and northern extremities of the region.
  • All accounts of this incident agree that the victims' mouths and extremities were blue.
  • Or maybe it helped keep the extremities warmer by losing the water.
  • Basically, the spinal fluid in the middle of his head pushed the brain tissues to the extremities of the skull.
  • Ossification begins in the center of the body, about the seventh week of fetal life, and gradually extends toward the extremities.
  • It has two surfaces, two borders, and two extremities.
  • Two or more of the cartilages often unite, partially or completely, and they are sometimes bifurcated at their extremities.
  • Ossification begins in the body about the eighth week of fetal life, and extends toward the extremities.
  • It started with scaly red patches on his face and extremities, but within two weeks he was covered with a weeping bumpy rash.
British Dictionary definitions for extremities


noun (pl) -ties
the farthest or outermost point or section; termination
the greatest or most intense degree
an extreme condition or state, as of adversity or disease
a limb, such as a leg, arm, or wing, or the part of such a limb farthest from the trunk
(usually pl) (archaic) a drastic or severe measure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for extremities

"hands and feet," uttermost parts of the body, early 15c., plural of extremity. Meaning "a person's last moments" is from c.1600.



late 14c., from Old French estremite (13c.), from Latin extremitatem (nominative extremitas) "the end of a thing," from extremus; see extreme, the etymological sense of which is better preserved in this word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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extremities in Medicine

extremity ex·trem·i·ty (ĭk-strěm'ĭ-tē)

  1. An end of an elongated or pointed structure.

  2. A bodily limb or appendage.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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