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
Recent Examples of ultimatum from the Web
The law gives local governments an ultimatum: Either let handgun permit-holders carry guns, or invest in metal detectors and security guards to inspect bags wherever people enter public facilities.
Acme in 2014 froze the pension after CEO Dennis Knautz was given an ultimatum from Berkshire executives, the lawsuit says.
The governor later gave it an ultimatum: Become self-sustaining or shut down.
That previously undisclosed ultimatum may have been the final straw that prompted the surrender, the official said.
The ultimatum to Japan was full of pious platitudes….
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ultimatum'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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: 1731See Words from the same year
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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