I am looking for a word that I have seen many times and that has temporarily escaped my brain. If someone was to be looking for the answer to the ultimate or existential questions (life/death/religion/higher purpose etc.), what is the word used for this answer? Not the answer itself, but a synonym for answer with a heavier or grander meaning. Example:

Humans have spent millennia looking for the X to life’s greatest questions.

  • are you thinking of solution? – Jim Oct 5 '12 at 1:02
  • Or something more like the elucidation of? – Kit Z. Fox Oct 5 '12 at 1:03
  • No, it is not a word that is as commonly used as 'Solution' and no it is not 'the elucidation of'. Thank you though. – David Oct 5 '12 at 1:25
  • How do revelation, epiphany, or insight strike you? – Cameron Oct 5 '12 at 1:25
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    42 link – user21497 Oct 5 '12 at 2:10

How about "Holy grail"? Any goal from a legendary quest would do, I think.


Clincher, decider -- unless you're Bush 43 -- last word or key.


There are single words with similar meaning, but I don't think any of them has been adopted into English.

Sanskrit has mahasatyam, meaning the ultimate, absolute Truth of everything. Can't quite find a Vedic source, but it's cited in several glossaries.


Greek gives us both epiphany, theophany (or teophany) and theopneusty. The first means "seeing more", the second "seeing God", and the last means merging or being imbued by the divine.


Is it also possible (and possibly more successful) to use the word Tao. This has the advantage of having been popularized by titles like "The Tao of Physics" or "The Tao of C", so it sort of conveys the intended meaning.


2.  Tao - the ultimate principle of the universe

I think the ultimate answer is


  • Lol! Getting punchy, are we? :-) – Kristina Lopez Oct 5 '12 at 2:26
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    Yeah, I was waiting for that. I'm not looking for the answer, rather a synonym for 'answer'. See above. – David Oct 5 '12 at 2:26
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    That, or the Higgs boson. – Jim Oct 5 '12 at 4:39
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    -1 As soon as I read the question, I knew someone would answer that. If you're going to post off-topic things, why not at least make them creative? – 3nafish Dec 2 '12 at 3:29

Could you use Facticity? This has a variety of meanings, the most prevalent being the intractable conditions of human existence. So Humans have spent millennia looking for the facticity to life’s greatest questions, means they are looking for the definitive answer that cannot be further interpreted

  • This doesn't seem to fit the OP's criteria. – American Luke Nov 19 '12 at 2:01

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