Meaning of in extremis in English:

in extremis

Pronunciation /ˌɪn ɛkˈstriːmɪs/


  • 1In an extremely difficult situation.

    ‘one or two would talk to the press in extremis’
    • ‘There's no policy to deal with the fact we have a military in extremis.’
    • ‘Exploring situations when the presidency is in extremis will allow me to consider whether there is an irreducible minimum of presidential power.’
    terminally ill, at death's door, on one's deathbed, in the jaws of death, on the point of death, near death, passing away, fading fast, sinking fast, expiring, moribund, breathing one's last, not long for this world
    1. 1.1At the point of death.
      ‘cannibalism is rare but, in extremis, it is something to which the human species will resort’
      • ‘Kolditz explains that his research on in extremis leadership, where followers perceive their lives to be threatened, reveals that the leadership lessons and principles in evidence in dangerous settings also apply to leading in business and everyday life.’
      • ‘Eight patients in extremis with a mean injury severity score of 36, presented to the resuscitation room of Queens Medical Centre during 2001.’


Latin, from in ‘in’ + extremis, ablative plural of extremus ‘outermost’.