ultra vires

adverb or adjective
ul·​tra vi·​res | \ ˌəl-trə-ˈvī-(ˌ)rēz How to pronounce ultra vires (audio) \

Definition of ultra vires

: beyond the scope or in excess of legal power or authority

Examples of ultra vires in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Arkansas Supreme Court said a lawsuit against a state official for injunctive relief can overcome sovereign immunity if the suit adequately pleads the official acted illegally, unconstitutionally, or ultra vires. Stephen Simpson, Arkansas Online, 14 Apr. 2022 Courts have struck down USCIS’s interpretations and guidance as ultra vires to Congressional intent and have blocked efforts to enshrine these policies in regulation. . . . Stuart Anderson, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 An ultra vires act is one taken beyond an entity's legal authority. Lara Farrar, Arkansas Online, 25 Nov. 2021 Moreover, the Executive Order exceeds the President’s authority and is therefore ultra vires and void ab initio. Eriq Gardner, Billboard, 4 Sep. 2020 That strikes me as ultra vires; liberals can’t stir more poison into the pot. The Economist, 4 Dec. 2019 So these regulations are ultra vires and the courts should strike them down. WSJ, 11 Apr. 2018 The idea here is that if a corporation is behaving in a fashion that is deemed ultra vires, or exceeding its legal authority, the state must investigate. Dahlia Lithwick, Slate Magazine, 15 Feb. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ultra vires.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ultra vires

1793, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ultra vires

New Latin, literally, beyond power

Learn More About ultra vires

Time Traveler for ultra vires

Time Traveler

The first known use of ultra vires was in 1793

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near ultra vires

ultraviolet spectrum

ultra vires


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ultra vires

Last Updated

18 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ultra vires.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ultra%20vires. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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

More Definitions for ultra vires

ultra vires

adverb or adjective
ul·​tra vi·​res | \ ˈəl-trə-ˈvī-ˌrēz, ˈu̇l-trä-ˈvē-ˌrās How to pronounce ultra vires (audio) \

Legal Definition of ultra vires

: beyond the scope or in excess of legal power or authority (as of a corporation) the agency acted ultra vires the agreement was ultra vires — compare intra vires

History and Etymology for ultra vires

Latin, beyond the power or means (of)


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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