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Thule1

[thoo-lee for 1, 2; too-lee for 3]
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noun
  1. the ancient Greek and Latin name for an island or region variously identified as one of the Shetland Islands, Iceland, or Norway: supposed to be the most northerly region of the world.
  2. ultima Thule.
  3. a settlement in NW Greenland: site of U.S. air base.
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Thule2

[too-lee]
adjective
  1. of or relating to an Eskimo culture flourishing from a.d. 500–1400, and extending throughout the Arctic from Greenland to Alaska.
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Origin of Thule2

named after Thule, Greenland

ultima Thule

[uhl-tuh-muh thoo-lee; Latin oo l-ti-mah too-le]
noun
  1. (italics) Latin. the highest degree attainable.
  2. the farthest point; the limit of any journey.
  3. the point believed by the ancients to be farthest north.
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Origin of ultima Thule

First recorded in 1655–65; literally, farthest Thule
Also called Thule.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thule

Historical Examples

  • But English will mean fame in ultima Thule; the isles of the sea, as the Bible says.

    Dreamers of the Ghetto

    I. Zangwill

  • While the period of Thule is 8.8 years, the period of Medusa is 3·1 years.

  • I am glad to get somebody decent to talk to, or at, in this outlandish ultima Thule.

  • And he was followed by his brother Aordus and two hundred youths of the Eruli in Thule.

    Procopius

    Procopius

  • He had heard of Thule, the little woodcutter who was called so brave and generous and true.

    Fairy Book

    Sophie May


British Dictionary definitions for thule

Thule

noun
  1. Also called: ultima Thule a region believed by ancient geographers to be the northernmost land in the inhabited world: sometimes thought to have been Iceland, Norway, or one of the Shetland Islands
  2. an Inuit settlement in NW Greenland: a Danish trading post, founded in 1910, and US air force base
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ultima Thule

noun
  1. another name for Thule
  2. any distant or unknown region
  3. a remote goal or aim
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Word Origin

Latin: the most distant Thule
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for thule

Thule

northernmost part of the world, Old English, from Latin, from Greek Thyle "land six days' sail north of Britain" (Polybius). Identity is speculative; it came to be used in a transferred sense of "extreme limits of travel."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper