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ultra

[uhl-truh]
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adjective
  1. going beyond what is usual or ordinary; excessive; extreme.
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noun
  1. an extremist, as in politics, religion, fashion, etc.
  2. (initial capital letter) Military. the British code name for intelligence gathered by decrypting German wireless communications enciphered on the Enigma machine during World War II.
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Origin of ultra

independent use of ultra-, or shortening of words prefixed with it

ultra-

  1. a prefix occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, with the basic meaning “on the far side of, beyond.” In relation to the base to which it is prefixed, ultra- has the senses “located beyond, on the far side of” (ultramontane; ultraviolet), “carrying to the furthest degree possible, on the fringe of” (ultraleft; ultramodern), “extremely” (ultralight); nouns to which it is added denote, in general, objects, properties, phenomena, etc., that surpass customary norms, or instruments designed to produce or deal with such things (ultramicroscope; ultrasound; ultrastructure).
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Origin of ultra-

< Latin ultrā (adv. and preposition) on the far side (of), beyond, derivative of *ult(e)r- located beyond

ne plus ultra

[nee pluhs uhl-truh, ney; Latin ne ploo s oo l-trah]
noun
  1. the highest point; acme.
  2. the most intense degree of a quality or state.
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Origin of ne plus ultra

1690–1700; < New Latin, Latin nē plūs ultrā (may you) not (go) further beyond (this point)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ultra

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • None of the groundcars at Ultra Vires was in operating condition.

    Rebels of the Red Planet

    Charles Louis Fontenay

  • Ultra Vires' radio transmitter and receiver had been dismantled.

    Rebels of the Red Planet

    Charles Louis Fontenay

  • Can't touch him on the ultra, so I'm going onto the macro-bands.

    Triplanetary

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • The "Secret Orchard" is set in the midst of the ultra modern society.

    The Coast of Chance

    Esther Chamberlain

  • He thought of the ultra radio—where could he get all the materials needed?

    Spacehounds of IPC

    Edward Elmer Smith


British Dictionary definitions for ultra

ultra

adjective
  1. extreme or immoderate, esp in beliefs or opinions
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noun
  1. an extremist
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Word Origin

C19: from Latin: beyond, from ulter distant

ne plus ultra

noun
  1. the extreme or perfect point or state
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Word Origin

literally: not more beyond (that is, go no further), allegedly a warning to sailors inscribed on the Pillars of Hercules at Gibraltar

ultra-

prefix
  1. beyond or surpassing a specified extent, range, or limitultramicroscopic
  2. extreme or extremelyultramodern
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Word Origin

from Latin ultrā beyond; see ultra
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 ultra

ultra-

prefix meaning "beyond" (ultraviolet) or "extremely" (ultramodern), from Latin ultra- from ultra (adv. and prep.) "beyond, on the further side," from PIE *al- "beyond." In common use from early 19c., it appears to have arisen from French political designations. As its own word, a noun meaning "extremist" of various stripes, it is first recorded 1817, from French ultra, shortening of ultra-royaliste "extreme royalist."

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ne plus ultra

"utmost limit to which one can go," Latin, literally "no more beyond;" the motto traditionally inscribed on the Pillars of Hercules.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ultra in Medicine

ultra-

pref.
  1. Beyond; on the other side of:ultraviolet.
  2. Beyond the range, scope, or limit of:ultrasonic.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.