Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

ultimate - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective [only before noun]     ultimate pronunciation in British English
  1. 1
    happening at the end of a process or activity

    The incident affected the ultimate outcome of the war.

    ultimate goal/aim/objective:

    Independence remains their ultimate political goal.

  2. 2
    if you have something such as ultimate power or responsibility, you have more power or responsibility than anyone else

    Parents must have ultimate responsibility for their children’s safety.

    The ultimate decision must be made by the Chief Constable himself.

  3. 3
    as good or as bad as possible

    They suffered the ultimate humiliation of defeat by their oldest enemies.

    The house provides the ultimate luxury retreat.

    1. a.
      used about something that is better, more extreme, or more important than all others

      The threat of strike action was their ultimate weapon in talks with management.

      Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    relating to the origins or basic form of something

    Science is a search for the ultimate truths about the universe.



a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play