Definition of intense in English:


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  • 1Of extreme force, degree, or strength.

    ‘the job demands intense concentration’
    • ‘the heat was intense’
    • ‘an intense blue’
    • ‘For weeks, they have been uprooting their troops and tanks, forced to withdraw under intense international pressure.’
    • ‘The public service and the defence force, under intense practical and political pressure, are players in what has become a compelling political thriller.’
    • ‘Under intense pressure it was forced to yield him.’
    • ‘O'Driscoll set up O'Shea but she was forced wide and under intense pressure her effort only reached the keeper.’
    • ‘Judged simply by radio traffic volume, the degree of surveillance is intense.’
    • ‘He tried to get into the bedroom four times to reach the youngster before he too, was forced back by the intense heat and smoke.’
    • ‘They rushed to the blazing aircraft, but were forced back by the intense heat.’
    • ‘Temperatures reached the mid-nineties on Wednesday and the heat index soared past 105 degrees with intense humidity levels.’
    • ‘His head slammed against the window; breaking the glass before he flew forward, his ribcage hitting the steering wheel with intense force.’
    • ‘Late in the afternoon of April 8, after days of intense pressure, Union forces made a decisive breakthrough at Spanish Fort.’
    • ‘‘Yes, sir,’ she said after a second, and started to hit the bag with intense strength.’
    • ‘Instead of looking at the sea, he found himself at the boulevard, his eyes being stung by the intense ferocity and strength of the pounding gust.’
    • ‘Where the line is to be drawn depends on a judgment involving logic and common sense, the assessment of matters of degree and an intense focus on the circumstances of a particular case.’
    • ‘As your hand can be held over your eyes to reduce the glare of the sky and help focus the view, the panels comfort by modifying the intense forces of nature.’
    • ‘Using ESI, an intense electric field forces the liquid sample into a fine mist of tiny, highly charged droplets.’
    • ‘British and French forces occupied Port Said but were forced to withdraw under intense U.S. economic pressure.’
    • ‘Imagine someone pulling your muscles with intense force.’
    • ‘Key experiences afterwards are degrees of intense inner stillness and to a lesser extent joy in simply being (rather than doing).’
    • ‘The metal piece was rapidly engulfed in an intense heat, forcing Jen to drop it as she was burnt.’
    • ‘Ian dropped the man and fell back onto the road, shielding his face with his hands from the intense heat and force of the blasts.’
    great, acute, enormous, fierce, severe, extreme, high, exceptional, extraordinary, harsh, strong, powerful, potent, vigorous
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    1. 1.1(of an action) highly concentrated.
      ‘a phase of intense activity’
      • ‘Well, again, the type of very vigorous, very intense activity generally is a matter of months after surgery like this.’
      • ‘Dutch researchers said recently that regular moderate exercise can burn energy and help shed those extra pounds or kilos more than short infrequent bursts of intense activity.’
      • ‘The announcement, made by junior agriculture minister Baroness Hayman in the House of Lords, followed a day of intense activity after the disease was confirmed at an Essex abattoir.’
      • ‘Its very success, however, triggers new and intense activity among opponents who see in her a foe whose defeat will require their most determined efforts.’
      • ‘‘My research is only a small part of the intense research activity in the faculty of Applied Health Sciences,’ said Rush.’
      • ‘And up to 90% of people diagnosed with asthma experience attacks during intense physical activity.’
      • ‘There was intense behind-the-scenes activity in Strasbourg last night as political groups tried to reach a compromise before the report is debated today.’
      • ‘The next morning would bring more intense activities.’
      • ‘A month of intense police activity has left criminals ‘running scared’, according to the most senior police officer in North Yorkshire.’
      • ‘One by-product was even more intense co-production activity, since the Arts Council encouraged, nay insisted, on partnership funding.’
      • ‘But by Sunday morning, the intense Garda activity in the area had alerted townspeople that this quiet area was the scene of a major investigation.’
      • ‘The Indoaustralia plate meets with the Euroasia and Pacific plates, and their movements cause intense tectonic activity in Indonesia.’
      • ‘I am very aware that I'm going to spiral down into one and a half weeks of intense activity and long hours from Wednesday onwards, and I'm grabbing my sleep in advance.’
      • ‘Glutamate is an important neurotransmitter in the brain, and can be released in large amounts during intense neural activity.’
      • ‘Most important - don't indulge in computer games that require long periods of intense keyboard or mouse activity.’
      • ‘After the intense activity of Monday (social, intellectual and metabolical), Tuesday was rather more sedate.’
      • ‘There was intense activity during the week and we're already seeing the results of that.’
      • ‘If your activity is more intense - a marathon, say, or a big climb - you have a greater need for a full recovery.’
      • ‘She credits her intense training routine of strength, cardiovascular and flexibility exercises with minimizing her symptoms.’
      great, acute, enormous, fierce, severe, extreme, high, exceptional, extraordinary, harsh, strong, powerful, potent, vigorous
      View synonyms
  • 2Having or showing strong feelings or opinions; extremely earnest or serious.

    ‘an intense young woman, passionate about her art’
    • ‘a burning and intense look’
    • ‘He was a very earnest and intense young man, whose character was in keeping with his guitar playing.’
    • ‘On the one hand he's very enthusiastic and intense and can be serious, but he's also such a laugh, and so expressive that he wins you over.’
    • ‘No, I was not always so disciplined or serious, intense or passionate, but now I am.’
    • ‘‘For a serious, intense kid, hip hop was an outlet,’ Blackman explains.’
    • ‘As for the lyrics on the new album, they are mostly serious and intense, dealing with childhood, fate, privilege, and making the most of youth.’
    • ‘One of the those arrested was described as an intense, serious man, tall and well-built and very protective of his wife, who always wore a veil.’
    • ‘You can be intense and serious in personal relationships while a light and playful attitude would be happier and healthier.’
    • ‘He is taller and rangier than he looks on screen - he is almost six foot - and far more intense and serious than when he is playing someone else.’
    • ‘He's intense and serious about the work, but sometimes he'll go off on a comic riff.’
    • ‘They're serious, they're intense, but at the same time, they know what the stakes are here and we're really focused on that.’
    • ‘Don't be too intense, be serious but good natured if possible.’
    • ‘Even when he gets so serious and intense, it makes Ernie laugh, and for me, anytime there is laughter in this game, it's good.’
    • ‘Fellows went from deadly serious and intense during her music to being casually witty and friendly; it was a cool, relaxed vibe.’
    • ‘One intense young American with Maori tattoos on his legs and a straggling beard tells his fascinated fellows of his experiments with colonic irrigation.’
    • ‘An only son, he was by all accounts an intense, young boy who from an early age displayed an emotional response to perceived injustice.’
    • ‘Listening to this intense young man, there is little doubt he has done things the hard way; no favours doled out and none asked for.’
    • ‘On stage he is a strong performer, who is passionate, intimate, intense and impossible to ignore.’
    • ‘Brendan Barrington exudes vibrant enthusiasm, he is intense, thoughtful and passionate about his creation.’
    • ‘A few years ago, hitchhiking from Inverness to London, I was given a lift by an intense young man who turned out to be an Icelandic concert pianist.’
    • ‘Playing basketball, football, and baseball, the intense young man graduated from high school in St. Pete in 1959.’
    passionate, impassioned, ardent, earnest, fervent, fervid, hot-blooded, zealous, vehement, fiery, heated, feverish, emotional, heartfelt, eager, keen, enthusiastic, excited, animated, spirited, vigorous, strong, energetic, messianic, fanatical, committed
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/inˈtens/ /ɪnˈtɛns/


Intense and intensive are similar in meaning, but they differ in emphasis. Intense tends to relate to subjective responses—emotions and how we feel—while intensive tends to relate to objective descriptions. Thus an intensive course of instruction simply describes the type of course: one that is designed to cover a lot of ground in a short time. On the other hand, in the course was intense, the word intense describes how someone felt about taking the course


Late Middle English from Old French, or from Latin intensus ‘stretched tightly, strained’, past participle of intendere (see intend).