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Is "ultimated" a valid word?

For example:

Range requests were originally proposed by Ari Luotonen and John Franks, using an extension to the URL syntax instead of a separate header field. However, this approach proved less general than the approach ultimated used in HTTP/1.1, especially with respect to conditional requests. (source)

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Typo: "than the approach ultimately used in HTTP/1.1" –  Kris Jan 3 at 15:08
This question appears to be off-topic because it is based on a typo. –  Kris Jan 3 at 15:09
@Kris, It's not based on a typo. It's based on "ultimated sounding like a valid word". If it's simply a typo, this question wouldn't exist in the first place. –  Pacerier Jan 3 at 18:54
It shouldn't have is what is meant. No offense. –  Kris Jan 4 at 5:17
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closed as off-topic by Kris, choster, aedia λ, medica, tchrist Jan 4 at 15:15

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

'Ultimated' is not a 'word' for two reasons

  • it is not a common standard or an accepted variant to make a verb out of an adjective directly. It would be very colloquial (or even a sign of very gross invention) to do so. If it were done nowadays it would most likely mean 'to make ultimate'.

  • in this context, a past participle is not expected but rather an adverb. This is probably a typo and what is most likely intended is 'ultimately'

...this approach proved less general than the approach ultimately used in HTTP__

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It's definitely a typo for "ultimately", but I don't think it's true that making verbs from adjectives is unheard of. People use "obsolete" to mean "render obsolete", for example. –  alcas Jul 15 '12 at 19:50
I agree, but, incidentally, in my country I notice a large usage of this word in pubblicty. However, I know, this does not mean anything. –  user19148 Jul 15 '12 at 19:52
By using this word, they publicize not only their computer expertise, but also the fact that they do not speak English correctly. –  GEdgar Jul 15 '12 at 20:02
@GEdgar - Yes, you are right. It must be just so, because here only few people speak English as second language. It is preferred French. –  user19148 Jul 15 '12 at 20:15
@GEdgar: or to put it another way, the English they use is not the same as the English you use. –  Colin Fine Jul 15 '12 at 21:16
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I found ultimate listed as a verb in this online dictionary. Having found evidence that it is a legitimate (if not somewhat dated and out-of-vogue) verb, I checked the ultimate dictionary source, the OED.

The OED lists ultimate as a verb, meaning, "To carry to an end; to complete," with these three excerpts cited as example uses:

1849 E. H. Sears Regeneration (1859) iii. i. 131 Works are filled and vitalized by that angelic benevolence which is not complete until clothed and ultimated in action.
1866 B. R. Parkes Vignettes 399 My parents had seen my education ultimated in practical life.
1881 E. S. Holden Sir W. Herschel 53 His researches on the construction of the heavens would have been made; those were in his brain, and must have been ultimated.

By the way, just because it is a word doesn't negate what Mitch said above. As a matter of fact:

the approach ultimately used

does indeed appear more correct than

the approach ultimated used

so I agree that, in this case, it's probably an error in the text. Still, though, to ultimate the discussion, it's worth noting that ultimated can be used as a word.

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Nobody disputes that it is possible to backform a verb from an adverb. The problem is that this hasn't yet been done with ultimate; in your third example, the coiner seems to intend terminate prematurely, which is entirely logical, but the opposite of carry to an end. If it were possible to create a word merely by typing it, millions of schoolchildren should have been rewarded for a new word, not marked down for misspelling. –  TimLymington Jul 15 '12 at 20:38
+1 for "it's worth noting that ultimated can be used as a word". In my country "ultimated" is largerly used in pubblicity, where it assume a positive connotation: the people want to pay only for "ultimated things". –  user19148 Jul 15 '12 at 20:39
@Tim: those aren't my examples; I just copied-and-pasted them from the dictionary, and the originals were penned over a century ago. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying? –  J.R. Jul 15 '12 at 21:01
OED actually has two entries for ultimate as a verb. The first has two definitions - To carry to an end; to complete., and To result finally; to end (in something). The second (listed as "rare") is the one defined as a Back-formation from ultimatum n. Whichever definition you go with, it's unreasonable to refer to OP's cited writer as a "coiner" - the word does exist, and has been used by others. –  FumbleFingers Jul 15 '12 at 21:47
Thank you, FF. While we're at it, OED also has more citations than the three I provided. (I was only trying to give a sampling to make a point; I didn't feel like both entries and all examples were necessary, but maybe I should have been less abridged and more thorough.) –  J.R. Jul 16 '12 at 2:14
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