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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ultimate


ultimateness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ultimate

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 For churches like Hillsong Atlanta, the ultimate goal is evangelism. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 For churches like Hillsong Atlanta, the ultimate goal is evangelism. New York Times, 25 July 2021 Our ultimate goal is to have every family in south Phoenix nourished and feed. Megan Taros, The Arizona Republic, 21 July 2021 Hamas and Fatah have proved unable to cooperate on any issue, agreeing only on their ultimate goal. WSJ, 21 July 2021 What the papers show, Arendt writes, is that the ultimate goal of the Vietnam War was not power or profit or any specific interest at all. Rebecca Panovka, Harper's Magazine, 20 July 2021 But these are just baby steps towards the ultimate goal: eradicating plastic production altogether. Brad Japhe, Kwin Mosby, Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 20 July 2021 But this process isn’t exactly compatible with the ultimate goal of moving the technology into humans. Megan Molteni, STAT, 18 July 2021 There is no debate among most experts critical of the CDC about the value of vaccines on a societal level to help usher in the end of the pandemic, which is the ultimate goal of the vaccine. David Zweig, Wired, 16 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About ultimate

Time Traveler for ultimate

Time Traveler

The first known use of ultimate was in 1640

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near ultimate

ultima ratio regum


ultimate analysis

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ultimate

Last Updated

28 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ultimate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ultimate. Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ultimate



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

More from Merriam-Webster on ultimate

Nglish: Translation of ultimate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ultimate for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!