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Definition of Ultimátum

An ultimatum is a final proposal or decision that is usually accompanied by a threat, in which one person gives another person a deadline to do or stop doing something.

It can also be seen as a final concession under threat that one person makes to another with a deadline to do or stop doing something.


  1. • Intimation
  2. • Constraint
  3. • Demand
  4. • Requirement
  5. • Warning
  6. • Notice
  7. • Threat

ORIGIN OF Ultimátum

The etymology of ultimatum takes us to ultimātum, a late Latin word that in turn derives from ultimāre (translatable as “to reach its end”).

The concept is used in the field of diplomacy to refer to the written statement that conveys a decisive and conclusive resolution.

The word ultimatum is a recent neologism (1834) that reaches us from Latin through English. It has been present in English books since 1725 and in Latin since the 15th century.

It means “the last word” when it comes to diplomatic negotiations. It refers to “the last concession” or “the last warning”.

It is worth mentioning that neologisms are words taken directly from Latin or classical Greek. As they are taken from the written language, they do not experience phonetic evolution.

When these neologisms crudely adopt the same Latin endings in “us” or “um” they would be simply Latinisms as in the case of “ultimatum”.