Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1600-1700
Language: Late Latin
Origin: ultimatus 'last', from ultimare 'to come to an end, be last', from Latin ultimus 'farthest, last', from ulter; ULTERIOR

ultimate

1 adjective
     
ul‧ti‧mate1 W3 [only before noun]
1 someone's ultimate aim is their main and most important aim, that they hope to achieve in the future [= final]
ultimate goal/aim/objective etc
Complete disarmament was the ultimate goal of the conference.
Our ultimate objective is to have as many female members of parliament as there are male.
2 the ultimate result of a long process is what happens at the end of it:
The ultimate outcome of the experiment cannot be predicted.
The ultimate fate of the tribe was even sadder.
the ultimate failure of the project
3 if you have ultimate responsibility for something, you are the person who must make the important final decisions about it:
The ultimate responsibility for policy lies with the President.
The ultimate decision rests with the Public Health Service.
4 better, bigger, worse etc than all other things or people of the same kind:
'The Rolling Stones' is the ultimate rock and roll band.
The female nude is surely the ultimate test of artistic skill.

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