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

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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

Beyond that, the ultimate question is whether Cleveland has the energy and drive to tackle such complex issues, and whether the new design can generate the civic groundswell and political support needed to realize it. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Shaker Square plan offers bold solutions, but real work has only begun — Steven Litt," 7 July 2019 Competitive games against Mexico will remain the crucible that most regularly tests the United States, but the ultimate goal isn’t only to beat a Mexico team that has looked underwhelming on Sunday. Kevin Draper, New York Times, "For the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, Hopes Rise but Mexico Awaits," 6 July 2019 There’s the obvious: Uber wants to be the ultimate transportation app, and adding bikes to their fleets is good for the environment and appealing to eco-conscious millennials. Molly Longman, refinery29.com, "Can Uber's JUMP Bikes Reimagine Your Morning Commute?," 5 July 2019 For the ultimate in clean indoor air, consider a whole-house electronic air purifier. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "A Breath of Fresh Air: A Smart Buyer's Guide to Air Filters," 1 July 2019 Riders start competing for the ultimate in cycling apparel as the Tour de France begins in Belgium en route to the final stage on July 28. Michelle Krupa, CNN, "Start your Monday smart: Hong Kong, Putin & the Pope, July 4th, Venezuela, World Cup," 30 June 2019 Six-time and current FIFA World Player of the Year, Brazil legend Marta would arguably be the ultimate 'Galactica' for Real, even though her career is starting to wind down at the age of 33. SI.com, "8 'Galactica' Superstars Real Madrid Could Target as Los Blancos Explore Women's Team," 24 June 2019 If there was ever a subtweet, going out and building the thing before Elon Musk managed to might just be the ultimate. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "YouTube's 'Shitty Robot' Queen Made Her Own Tesla Pickup Truck," 18 June 2019 At 12,585 square feet, the property boasts six bedrooms, seven and a half bathrooms and a backyard oasis that offers the ultimate in resort style living in the suburbs. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Sprawling Sugar Land mansion with backyard paradise sees massive price reduction," 18 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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, "What to Watch this Weekend: Meryl isn't backing down on Big Little Lies, plus the BET Awards," 21 June 2019 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

10 Jul 2019

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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 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

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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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