ul·​ti·​mate | \ˈəl-tə-mət \

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, -ˌmāt \
ultimated; ultimating

Definition of ultimate (Entry 3 of 3)

: end

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Other Words from ultimate


ultimateness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ultimate

Synonyms: Adjective

consummate, last, max, maximum, most, nth, outside, paramount, supreme, top, utmost, uttermost

Antonyms: Adjective

least, minimal, minimum, slightest

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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


Their ultimate fate has not yet been decided. Our ultimate aim is to increase production.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Fiji and Papua New Guinea Lynette WilsonDestination WorldShe’s the ultimate go-to in the region for scuba diving, water-view villas, and off-the-grid hiking. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 2018 The ultimate test of the new Nars shadows came when the models stepped on the runway, which was outside. Sophia Panych, Allure, "Nars's New Reformulated Eye Shadows Made a Beautiful Runway Appearance at Rodarte SS2019," 10 Sep. 2018 There's nothing like wearing your hair over your face for the ultimate in low-effort Halloween costumes. Lauren Hubbard, Harper's BAZAAR, "13 Easy Halloween Costumes That Are All About The Hairstyle," 4 Sep. 2018 The next outing for OpenAI Five will be the International in Vancouver later this month, when the computer will be taking on a real professional team for its ultimate test. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk’s Dota 2 bots spank top-tier humans, and they know how to trash talk," 6 Aug. 2018 Ulysses, Cassini, and New Horizons all passed by the planet for gravity assists to get to their ultimate destinations. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "12 New Moons of Jupiter Discovered," 17 July 2018 Brazilian legend Pele recently said this group doesn’t play well together; the ultimate test is coming. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "The World Cup arrives, with its galaxy of stars," 13 June 2018 On the other side, unblinking support for Trump really has become the ultimate litmus test in Republican primaries. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: The Democratic establishment strikes back in California, New Jersey and other primaries," 6 June 2018 That’s the ultimate test for a show and this one probably did it more than any [for me]. Sophia Rosenbaum, Time, "A Sex and the City Expert on Why It's Cool to Be a Miranda Now," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Weight loss diets are seen as the gateway to ultimate wellness. SELF, "I'm a Personal Trainer and I Never Tell My Clients to Go On a Diet," 24 Sep. 2018 The act went through the heartbreak of completing an album, which they ultimate ditched. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Pnau Talk 'Changa,' Altered States and Share New Track 'La Grenouille': Exclusive Premiere," 9 Nov. 2017

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.

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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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Statistics for ultimate

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for ultimate

The first known use of ultimate was in 1640

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English Language Learners Definition of ultimate

: happening or coming at the end of a process, series of events, etc.

: greatest or most extreme

—used to refer to the original or basic source or cause of something


ul·​ti·​mate | \ˈəl-tə-mət \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ultimate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ultimate

Spanish Central: Translation of ultimate

Nglish: Translation of ultimate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ultimate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ultimate

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