Definition of ultimatum
ultimataplay \ˌəl-tə-ˈmā-tə, -ˈmä-\
: a final proposition, condition, or demand; especially : one whose rejection will end negotiations and cause a resort to force or other direct action
Examples of ultimatum in a sentence
She was given an ultimatum—work harder or lose her job.
<issued the ultimatum that the project be finished by the following week, or it would be terminated>
Did You Know?
An ultimatum is usually issued by a stronger power to a weaker one, since it wouldn't carry much weight if the one giving the ultimatum couldn't back up its threat. Near the end of World War II, the Allied powers issued an ultimatum to Japan: surrender completely or face the consequences. Japan rejected the ultimatum, and within days the U.S. had dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing some 200,000 people.
Origin and Etymology of ultimatum
New Latin, from Medieval Latin, neuter of ultimatus final
First Known Use: 1731
ULTIMATUM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ultimatum for English Language Learners
: a final threat : a promise that force or punishment will be used if someone does not do what is wanted
ULTIMATUM Defined for Kids
Definition of ultimatum for Students
: a final condition or demand that if rejected could end future negotiations and lead to forceful or undesirable action
Seen and Heard
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