Meaning of “ultimatum” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"ultimatum" in British English

See all translations

ultimatumnoun [ C ]

uk /ˌʌl.tɪˈmeɪ.təm/ us /ˌʌl.təˈmeɪ.t̬əm/ plural ultimatums or ultimata

a threat in which a person or group of people are warned that if they do not do a particular thing, something unpleasant will happen to them. It is usually the last and most extreme in a series of actions taken to bring about a particular result:

He gave her an ultimatum - she could either stop seeing Peter and come back to him or it was divorce.
On Wednesday night the UN issued its toughest ultimatum to date, demanding that all troops withdraw from the city.

(Definition of “ultimatum” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"ultimatum" in American English

See all translations

ultimatumnoun [ C ]

us /ˌʌl·təˈmeɪ·t̬əm/

a demand that a person or group do something to avoid something unpleasant:

The workers got an ultimatum – go back to work or face dismissal.

(Definition of “ultimatum” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"ultimatum" in Business English

See all translations

ultimatumnoun [ C ]

uk /ˌʌltɪˈmeɪtəm/ us

a warning, usually the last and most threatening one in a series, in which someone is told that if they take a particular action, something unpleasant will happen to them:

issue/deliver/give an ultimatum The chairman has issued an ultimatum: sort out the problems, or the expansion will not take place.
Should I give him some kind of ultimatum to encourage him to retire?

(Definition of “ultimatum” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)