early 15c., "outermost, farthest;" also "utter, total, in greatest degree" (opposed to moderate), from Old French extreme (13c.), from Latin extremus "outermost, utmost, farthest, last; the last part; extremity, boundary; highest or greatest degree," superlative of exterus (see exterior). In English as in Latin, not always felt as a superlative, hence more extreme, most extreme (which were condemned by Johnson). Extreme unction preserves the otherwise extinct sense of "last, latest" (15c.).