there are phrases on paper saying things like

at its most radical

at its + superlative

and there is no way of understanding the meaning of this phrase because I can't find it on dictionary.

The closest search to this phrase is "at the most" which is not what the phrase means

The following is the full sentence where the phrase I found is used:

At its most radical, moralism produces descriptions of ideal political societies known as Utopias.


3 Answers 3


"At its most XXX" is about something that varies on XXX and, in particular, about what that thing is like at its highest point on XXX.

"New York, at its hottest, is still not nearly as hot as Cairo".

"A New York City winter, even at its most severe, seems mild to people from Petrograd".

  • 1
    thanks so much! your examples helped me understand the phrase, thx xx
    – briannjs
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 12:01

When something is at its most radical, is is being as radical as it can be. When I am at my most rude, I am being as rude as I can. When I am at my least courageous, I am acting with as little courage as I am able to.

  • thanks a lot for your comment, helped me al ot!
    – briannjs
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 12:02

"Its" is a possessive pronoun, like "his". So when you say...

...at its most radical.

... the adjective following the superlative is a quality that belongs to whatever "it" refers to.

It is much the same as saying:

This latest book is his best work.

This means that a number of works can be attributed to "him", but a particular book in question is his best.

Likewise, by saying something is "at its most radical" you are implying that the subject is often radical, but you are highlighting a point at which this quality has peaked.

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