noun, plural ul·ti·ma·tums, ul·ti·ma·ta [uhl-tuhmey-tuh, –mah-] /ˌʌl təˈmeɪ tə, -ˈmɑ-/.

  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.

noun plural -tums or -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

n.1731, from Modern Latin, from Medieval Latin adjective ultimatum “last possible, final,” from Latin ultimatum, neuter of ultimatus (see ultimate). Hamilton and others use the Latin plural ultimata. In slang c.1820s, ultimatum was used for “the buttocks.” 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.

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