Ex: Burning man makes every other festival you go to boring after it.

  • I really wish you weren’t so spot-on with that remark, but alas, you are 100% correct. – tchrist Sep 13 '13 at 20:27

11 Answers 11


"epitome" - highest experiential level. "Burning Man is the epitome of all music festivals."

  1. Unequivocal
  2. the bomb
  3. the be-all-end-all
  4. quintessential

Rolling Stone may say, "Burning Man is the quintessential music festival." A trendy blog may say, "Burning Man is the be-all-end-all of all music festivals." Your friends may say, "Burning Man is the bomb."

And with rolling yachts it is! (I went in 2003)

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  • +1 for the yacht pic. but -1 for the fuel it uses :-P – Howard Pautz Sep 14 '13 at 1:40

For nouns, consider
quintessence, “A thing that is the most perfect example of its type; the most perfect embodiment of something”
prototype, “An original object or form which is a basis for other objects, forms, or for its models and generalizations”; also “(semantics) An instance of a category or a concept that combines its most representative attributes”
archetype, “An original model of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are merely derivative, copied, patterned, or emulated; a prototype”; also “An ideal example of something; a quintessence”
standard, “Something used as a measure for comparative evaluations”
ideal, “A perfect standard of beauty, intellect etc., or a standard of excellence to aim at”
exemplar, “Something fit to be imitated; see ideal and model”; also “A pattern after which others should be made”

  • @TecBrat you are downloading jwpat7 because of the wording at wiktonary? How is that fair? – terdon Sep 13 '13 at 17:53
  • 1
    @TecBrat, (1) the items in quotes are quoted from wiktionary, and (2) As noted elsewhere on ELU, “In actual usage, the word "perfect" has been subject to modifiers ever since it was introduced to the language. The rule that you cannot modify "perfect" is, therefore, contrary to actual established usage. It is an example of hypercorrection.” That is, downvoting on the basis of use of “most perfect” is hypercorrection. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Sep 13 '13 at 17:53
  • @terdon, downloading probably is ok ... downvoting less so :) – James Waldby - jwpat7 Sep 13 '13 at 17:57
  • I deleted a couple of my comments. I realized it would be better to improve vs. downvote, so I did a minor edit and reversed my downvote. – TecBrat Sep 13 '13 at 18:41
  • @TecBrat - not only is it hypercorrection, it's just plain wrong. Spend 10 minutes or so browsing through this list of book quotes; you'll see the phrase most perfect used in works of philosophy, biography, theology, and erotica, some written 200 years ago, some in the past decade. Something may be "questionable" here, but it's not the wiki "grammar". – J.R. Sep 13 '13 at 19:01

culmination or acme

culminate (v.)

to bring to a close; complete; climax: A rock song culminates the performance.


the acme of their basketball season was their hard-won victory over last year's state champs

In common parlance, one would say:

Burning Man is the ultimate or creme de la creme.


definitive: most authoritative; recognized as being the most authoritative and of the highest standard

  • Please offer more than a two-line answer. Community prefers answers which gives a good explanation or good reasons why it is correct. – user51029 Sep 13 '13 at 23:05

I thought of archetype. One of the definitions is:

adj. An ideal example of something; a quintessence.

adj. An ideal example of a type; quintessence: an archetype of the successful entrepreneur.

The adjective form is archetypal. You could say: Burning Man is the archetypal festival.


I would suggest preeminent, ultimate, or perhaps use the phrase undisputed champion.


I might go with par excellence

Bonus: when you say it with a French accent, it almost sounds pretentious enough for Burning Man attendees.



The thing in relation to other things has achieved to:

  • set the bar too high
    This vacation has set the bar so high, that honestly every vacation after this will pale in comparison.

Other things in relation to this thing have come to:

  • pale in comparison / pale by comparison : to seem lacking in importance or quality than something else.
    This vacation has set the bar so high, that honestly every vacation after this will pale in comparison.

The thing has become:

  • unsurpassable : not to be exceeded; without rival.
    Doubling for the Queen in the breathtaking skydive into the Olympics opening ceremony was an "unsurpassable" experience, a stuntman said today. (source)

Someone said ideal earlier, but there is an even more apt phrase, which is Platonic ideal. A Platonic ideal is the ultimate expression of some concept that exists outside of all humanity. So there is a singular Platonic ideal of "Beauty", "Justice", and "Awesome Festival" that we all strive at (poorly in Plato's opinion) to achieve and recognize.


There is also apogee and apex. Both are terms that can be used literally, or figuratively to mean the "high point" of something or other.

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