mid-15c., from L. extremus
"outermost, utmost," superlative of exterus
). In English as in Latin, not always felt as a superlative, hence more extreme, most extreme
(which were condemned by Johnson). The noun is first recorded 1540s, originally of the end of life, cf. Latin in extremis
. Extreme unction
preserves the sense of last, latest (15c.). As a noun, c.1600, in in the extreme
, etc. Extremes
opposite ends of anything is from 1550s.