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ultimatum

[uhl-tuh-mey-tuh m, -mah-]
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noun, plural ul·ti·ma·tums, ul·ti·ma·ta [uhl-tuh-mey-tuh, -mah-] /ˌʌl təˈmeɪ tə, -ˈmɑ-/.
  1. a final, uncompromising demand or set of terms issued by a party to a dispute, the rejection of which may lead to a severance of relations or to the use of force.
  2. a final proposal or statement of conditions.

Origin of ultimatum

1725–35; < New Latin, noun use of neuter of Late Latin ultimātus. See ultimate
Can be confusedultimate ultimatum
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ultimatum

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Our ultimatum was despatched to Suna on the very day on which we received this sad news.

    Freeland

    Theodor Hertzka

  • For the United States it is a record of honor; for Europe it is an ultimatum.

  • The captain's parting remark was in the nature of an ultimatum.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • Then she called her daughter to her and issued an ultimatum.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • Then without pause he turned on Sunny and delivered his ultimatum.


British Dictionary definitions for ultimatum

ultimatum

noun plural -tums or -ta (-tə)
  1. a final communication by a party, esp a government, setting forth conditions on which it insists, as during negotiations on some topic
  2. any final or peremptory demand, offer, or proposal

Word Origin

C18: from New Latin, neuter of ultimatus ultimate
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 ultimatum

n.

1731, from Modern Latin, from Medieval Latin adjective ultimatum "last possible, final," from Latin ultimatum, neuter of ultimatus (see ultimate). Hamilton and others use the Latin plural ultimata. In slang c.1820s, ultimatum was used for "the buttocks."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ultimatum in Culture

ultimatum

[(ul-tuh-may-tuhm)]

A formal message delivered from one government to another threatening war if the receiving government fails to comply with conditions set forth in the message. For example, after the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand in 1914, the government of Austria sent an ultimatum to Serbia, which Austria held responsible for the assassination.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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