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F. intense, ad. L. intens-us ‘stretched, strained, tight, violent’, rarely ‘intent’, pa. pple. of intendre: see INTEND v. In origin a doublet of INTENT a., q.v.] Etymologically, Stretched, strained, high-strung. Hence:


  • 1. Of a quality or condition: Raised to or existing in a strained or very high degree; very strong or acute; violent, vehement, extreme, excessive; of colour, very deep; of a feeling, ardent (cf. also 3).
  • 2. transf. Of a thing: Having some characteristic quality in a very high degree; intensely forcible, bright, hot, etc.
b. spec. in Photography: = DENSE a. 3.
  • 3. Of personal, esp. mental, action, etc.: Strained or strenuously directed to some end; intent, eager, earnest, ardent.
a. Having the thoughts strenuously directed to some end; intent upon (about) something. Obs.
b. Feeling, or susceptible to, intense emotion or affection. Also, manifesting intense emotion or excitability, esp. in æsthetic or intellectual contexts.
  • 5. transf. Of language, aspect, etc.: Expressing or manifesting intense feeling, purpose, etc.
  • 6. Tending strongly; prone.