from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Being last in a series, process, or progression: synonym: last.
  • adjective Eventual.
  • adjective Fundamental; elemental.
  • adjective Of the greatest possible size or significance; maximum.
  • adjective Representing or exhibiting the greatest possible development or sophistication.
  • adjective Utmost; extreme.
  • noun The greatest extreme; the maximum.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Furthest; most remote in place.
  • Last; the last of a series of three or more members, especially of a series in which an inquiry is traced from one member to another: as, the ultimate signification of a phrase; an ultimate principle; an ultimate fact.
  • In entomology, specifically noting a stage of the second larva, after the third molt, of those insects which undergo hypermetamorphosis, as the blister-beetles (Meloidæ), It succeeds the scarabæidoid stage, and is followed by the coarctate larva.
  • Synonyms Eventual, Conclusive, etc. See final.
  • In meck., final; ‘breaking'; specifically, noting the strain required to “break a piece of material.
  • To result finally; end.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Farthest; most remote in space or time; extreme; last; final.
  • adjective Last in a train of progression or consequences; tended toward by all that precedes; arrived at, as the last result; final.
  • adjective Incapable of further analysis; incapable of further division or separation; constituent; elemental.
  • adjective (Chem.) organic analysis. See under Organic.
  • adjective See under Belief.
  • adjective (Math.) the limiting value of a ratio, or that toward which a series tends, and which it does not pass.
  • verb rare To come or bring to an end or issue; to eventuate; to end.
  • verb rare To come or bring into use or practice.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Concerning the last or final thing in a series.
  • adjective Last in a word or other utterance.
  • adjective Being the greatest possible; maximum; most extreme.
  • adjective Being the most distant or extreme; farthest.
  • adjective That will happen sometime; eventual.
  • noun The most basic or fundamental of a set of things
  • noun The final or most distant point; the conclusion
  • noun The greatest extremity; the maximum

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective furthest or highest in degree or order; utmost or extreme
  • adjective being the last or concluding element of a series
  • noun the finest or most superior quality of its kind


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin ultimātus, past participle of ultimāre, to come to an end, from ultimus, last, superlative of *ulter, on the other side; see al- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Medieval Latin ultimatus ("furthest, last"), past participle of Latin ultimare ("to come to an end"), from ultimus ("last, final"); see ultra-.


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  • Contronymic in the sense: acme vs. last in line.

    January 27, 2007

  • In the internet era, this word has become a synonym for new:

    The ultimate search engine

    The ultimate social network


    July 28, 2008

  • Oroboros, you're awesome.

    March 12, 2012