[thoo-lee for 1, 2; too-lee for 3]
  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.


  1. of or relating to an Eskimo culture flourishing from a.d. 500–1400, and extending throughout the Arctic from Greenland to Alaska.

Origin of Thule

named after Thule, Greenland

ultima Thule

[uhl-tuh-muh thoo-lee; Latin oo l-ti-mah too-le]
  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.

Origin of ultima Thule

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

Examples from the Web for thule

Historical Examples of thule

British Dictionary definitions for thule


  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

ultima Thule

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

Word Origin for ultima Thule

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


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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper