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ultimatum

[uhl-tuh-mey-tuh m, -mah-] /ˌʌl təˈmeɪ təm, -ˈmɑ-/
noun, plural ultimatums, ultimata
[uhl-tuh-mey-tuh, -mah-] /ˌʌl təˈmeɪ tə, -ˈmɑ-/ (Show IPA)
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
1725-1735
1725-35; < Neo-Latin, noun use of neuter of Late Latin ultimātus. See ultimate
Can be confused
ultimate, ultimatum.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for ultimatum
  • They know because of the ultimatum game, the outcome of which is often the rejection of free money.
  • The favoured tools for exploring seemingly odd behaviours are called public-goods experiments and ultimatum games.
  • He was given an ultimatum and he made his choice for war.
  • Ideally this ultimatum alone would suffice to prompt the government to release its prisoners.
  • The rejection of the ultimatum followed and war was declared.
British Dictionary definitions for ultimatum

ultimatum

/ˌʌltɪˈmeɪtəm/
noun (pl) -tums, -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 ultimatusultimate
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
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Word Origin and History for ultimatum
ultimatum
1731, from Mod.L., from M.L. adj. ultimatum "last possible, final," from L. ultimatum, neut. of ultimatus (see ultimate). Hamilton and others use the L. plural ultimata. In slang c.1820s, ultimatum was used for "the buttocks."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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