ul·​ti·​mate | \ ˈəl-tə-mət How to pronounce ultimate (audio) \

Definition of ultimate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : last in a progression or series : final their ultimate destination was Paris
b : eventual sense 2 they hoped for ultimate success
c : the best or most extreme of its kind : utmost the ultimate sacrifice
d : most remote in space or time : farthest
2 : arrived at as the last result the ultimate question
3a : original sense 1 the ultimate source
b : basic, fundamental the ultimate nature of things— A. N. Whitehead
c : incapable of further analysis, division, or separation



Definition of ultimate (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : something ultimate especially : fundamental
2 : acme
3 capitalized : ultimate frisbee


ul·​ti·​mate | \ ˈəl-tə-mət How to pronounce ultimate (audio) , -ˌmāt How to pronounce ultimate (audio) \
ultimated; ultimating

Definition of ultimate (Entry 3 of 3)

: end

Other Words from ultimate


ultimateness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ultimate

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for ultimate


last, final, terminal, ultimate mean following all others (as in time, order, or importance). last applies to something that comes at the end of a series but does not always imply that the series is completed or stopped. last page of a book last news we had of him final applies to that which definitely closes a series, process, or progress. final day of school terminal may indicate a limit of extension, growth, or development. terminal phase of a disease ultimate implies the last degree or stage of a long process beyond which further progress or change is impossible. the ultimate collapse of the system

Examples of ultimate in a Sentence

Adjective Their ultimate fate has not yet been decided. Our ultimate aim is to increase production.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The security system met its ultimate test about 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 4, according to a timeline provided by a U.S. Marshals spokesman in response to questions sent by The Post before Francis’s capture. Jonathan O'connell, Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2022 And this time around, that feedback is likely to serve as the ultimate test of how effectively employers keep their organizations together in the face of new economic and job market challenges posed by inflation, politics and COVID-19. David Lyons, Sun Sentinel, 18 Sep. 2022 Then fueled Smith during the ultimate litmus test, a futures tournament in Lubbock, Texas. San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Sep. 2022 If Jernaro Gilford called his shot before the end of BYU’s training camp, then this week could be the ultimate test. Kevin Reynolds, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Sep. 2022 Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, who introduced the bill along with Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, expressed confidence that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will put the proposal to the ultimate test by asking senators to vote on it now. Anna Edgerton, Fortune, 6 Sep. 2022 Bitter rivalries ignite as the pilots prepare for a specialized mission — which will require the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it. Todd Spangler, Variety, 2 Sep. 2022 Their eternal hope is ‘to honor the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, to provide comfort to friends and family of the fallen, and to remind others of the tremendous cost paid by some. cleveland, 21 Aug. 2022 His frustration symbolized what Hurts had given the program up to that point through hard work, elite performance and the ultimate team sacrifice towards the larger goal of winning a championship. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, 10 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Goldmann-Gilead lived through the ultimate of horrors. Elie Honig, CNN, 14 Oct. 2021 The Gladiators made a mistake, and Fearless used his ultimate to take the Gladiators’ support players out of the fight. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 9 June 2021 Fielder used his ultimate on Moira in a fight that was unwinnable. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 31 May 2021 Should the Gophers collect others while pursuing their ultimate of the national championship, that's gravy. Randy Johnson, Star Tribune, 4 Mar. 2021 There were fight-altering ultimates and others that left a lot to be desired. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 11 May 2020 Both players charged their ultimates at roughly the same rate, but the value heavily favored Super. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 10 Feb. 2020 His contrast between the two ultimates of Timon’s emotional pendulum is marvelously rich and instructive. James Hebert, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For keen Christo fans and collectors, Sotheby’s Paris is presenting The Final Christo (until 3 October), an exhibition of 25 works telling the story of L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, from early dream to to ultimate realisation six decades later. Joanne Shurvell, Forbes, 29 Sep. 2021 At the beginning of Harbaugh’s tenure as Ravens coach, the Pittsburgh Steelers barred the door to ultimate success. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, 18 Sep. 2021 As a player, Jared Goff and Peyton Manning are counting on me to do my job, which ultimate leads to helping the team. Mitch Stephens, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Sep. 2021 Member of the 1970s all-decade team, Stabler was the 1974 NFL MVP and led the Raiders to ultimate glory in Super Bowl XI. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, 29 Oct. 2020 Only when forced to face her demons after things go awry with love interest Nico (Roberta Colindrez) and handyman Baco (Raúl Castillo) does Emma open the door to ultimate freedom. Ew Staff, EW.com, 21 June 2019 Weight loss diets are seen as the gateway to ultimate wellness. SELF, 24 Sep. 2018 The act went through the heartbreak of completing an album, which they ultimate ditched. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 9 Nov. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ultimate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ultimate


1640, in the meaning defined at sense 1d


1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ultimate


Medieval Latin ultimatus last, final, from Late Latin, past participle of ultimare to come to an end, be last, from Latin ultimus farthest, last, final, superlative of Latin *ulter situated beyond

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Time Traveler for ultimate

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The first known use of ultimate was in 1640

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Dictionary Entries Near ultimate

ultima ratio regum


ultimate analysis

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Statistics for ultimate

Last Updated

26 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ultimate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ultimate. Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for ultimate


ul·​ti·​mate | \ ˈəl-tə-mət How to pronounce ultimate (audio) \

Kids Definition of ultimate

1 : last in a series : final The traveler's ultimate destination was Rome.
2 : most extreme the ultimate sacrifice
3 : relating to or being the chief or most important She has ultimate responsibility for the accident.

Other Words from ultimate

ultimately adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ultimate

Nglish: Translation of ultimate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ultimate for Arabic Speakers


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