Word of the Day

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

ne plus ultra

\nee-plus-UL-truh; nay-\ , noun;
1.
The highest point, as of excellence or achievement; the acme; the pinnacle; the ultimate.
2.
The most profound degree of a quality or condition.
Quotes:
He also penned a number of supposedly moral and improving books which . . . were the very ne plus ultra of tedium.
-- Richard West, "A life fuller than fiction", Irish Times, August 9, 1997
If you were a graduate student in the 80's and subject to the general delusion that held literary criticism to be the ne plus ultra of intellectual thrill, then you too probably owned one of these: an oversize paperback with an austere cover and small-type title that, grouped with three or more of its kind on your bookshelf, confirmed your status as an avatar of predoctoral chic.
-- Judith Shulevitz, "Correction Appended", New York Times, October 29, 1995
Origin:
Ne plus ultra is from Latin, literally, "(go) no more beyond", from ne, "not" + plus, "more" + ultra, "beyond."
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