Word Origin & History
prefix meaning "beyond" (ultraviolet) or "extremely" (ultramodern), from L. 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 Fr. political designations. As its own word, a noun meaning "extremist" of
various stripes, it is first recorded 1817, from Fr. ultra, shortening of ultra-royaliste "extreme royalist."
ne plus ultra
"utmost limit to which one can go," 1638, from L., lit. "no more beyond," traditionally inscribed on the Pillars of Hercules.