Definitions

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

  • adj. Being last in a series, process, or progression: "As the ultimate arbiter of the Constitution, the Supreme Court occupies a central place in our scheme of government” ( Richard A. Epstein).
  • adj. Fundamental; elemental: an ultimate truth.
  • adj. Of the greatest possible size or significance; maximum: Has the ultimate diamond been found?
  • adj. Representing or exhibiting the greatest possible development or sophistication: the ultimate bicycle.
  • adj. Utmost; extreme: the ultimate insult.
  • adj. Being most distant or remote; farthest. See Synonyms at last1.
  • adj. Eventual: hoped for ultimate victory.
  • n. The basic or fundamental fact, element, or principle.
  • n. The final point; the conclusion.
  • n. The greatest extreme; the maximum: actions that represented the ultimate in political expediency.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See under Ultimate, Proximate, Qualitative, etc.
  • adj. Farthest; most remote in space or time; extreme; last; final.
  • adj. Last in a train of progression or consequences; tended toward by all that precedes; arrived at, as the last result; final.
  • adj. Incapable of further analysis; incapable of further division or separation; constituent; elemental.
  • v. To come or bring to an end or issue; to eventuate; to end.
  • v. To come or bring into use or practice.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In meck., final; ‘breaking'; specifically, noting the strain required to “break a piece of material.
  • 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.
  • To result finally; end.

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

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

Etymologies

Latin ultimātus, past participle of ultimāre, to come to an end, from ultimus, last, superlative of *ulter, on the other side; see al-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin ultimatus ("furthest, last"), past participle of Latin ultimare ("to come to an end"), from ultimus ("last, final"); see ultra-. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Oroboros, you're awesome.

    March 12, 2012

  • In the internet era, this word has become a synonym for new:
    The ultimate search engine
    The ultimate social network

    etc...

    July 28, 2008

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

    January 27, 2007