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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No harm can come so long as the extremities are kept warm, and the circulation well balanced.

    Plain Facts for Old and Young John Harvey Kellogg
  • If the head and neck are enlarged, the trunk and extremities are cut short.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The extremities of objects which are at some distance, are not seen so distinctly as if they were nearer.

    A Treatise on Painting Leonardo Da Vinci
  • This was all the old hen needed to drive her to extremities.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
  • Those which are perceived at the extremities of the two aisles are more particularly esteemed.

  • This can only be done in the extremities, but nearly all bites are received on the arms or legs.

    Boy Scouts Handbook Boy Scouts of America
  • Of the last mentioned there are three, shown by the notch, colored black at their extremities.

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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