How to Use Upmost vs. utmost Correctly

The Difference between “Utmost” and “Upmost”

  • “Utmost” means “to the greatest extent.” For example:
  • I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday based on food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me. (Chef Marcus Samuelsson)
  • “Upmost” means “at the highest position” or “uppermost.” For example:
    • Cut the upmost branch from the tree to protect the overhead power cable.

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    Remembering the Difference

    One simple way to remember the difference between upmost and utmost is to consider the way they are spelled. Think of the T in uTmost as exTreme or greaTest.

    When remembering UPmost, think about the word UP. This will help you remember that “upmost” means the top position. You can think of the phrase “up top” to help you out with UPmost.

    How to Remember These Words

    If you are using the word to mean to the maximum, you should always use utmost. Upmost is considered incorrect in this context.

    Since utmost has an extra T, like most extreme, you should always be able to remember that utmost is the correct word in these instances.

    What does upmost mean?

    Upmost is a much less common variant of uppermost, and it means the same thing: highest in terms of physical height (the most up or most upper, if you will). Less commonly, it can mean highest in order, rank, or some other nonphysical quality. It can also mean the same thing as topmost, in the sense of predominant, as in a subject of uppermost concern (this is the sense that’s often closest to utmost).

    Upmost and the more common uppermost are both most commonly used in the context of the height of something, such as the upmost floor of a building. Still, it’s much more common to refer to this as the uppermost floor, the highest floor, or the top floor.

    Explore another pair of words which are at the pinnacle of commonly confused word lists: climatic and climactic.

    How to remember the difference between upmost and utmost?

    The best way to remember upmost from utmost is to associate their prefixes with similar words.

    Upmost and uppermost incorporate the adverb up- as a prefix (“towards a higher place or position”). Use the meaning of “up” to recall the position of something that is “up on top.”

    Utmost starts with ut– (“out”), the same prefix found in the word utter (“complete, absolute”). Use the meaning of “ut” to remember how utmost can mean “furthest out” and the meaning of “utter” for when utmost describes “the greatest amount or extent possible.”

    When to Use Upmost

    adjectiveWhat does upmost mean? Upmost is a fairly uncommon variant of the adjective uppermost and is defined as highest in location, farthest up.

    • We need to dig through the upmost/uppermost layer of sediment to lay the foundation.
    • The upmost/uppermost windows of the building need to be cleaned.
    • My office is on the upmost/uppermost floor of the building.

    Both words can be used interchangeably, but uppermost is clearly the better word choice. Using uppermost exclusively eliminates any possible confusion that can arise between utmost vs. upmost.

    Plus, as I mentioned above, uppermost is clearly preferred over upmost (probably for the added clarity) in popular usage.

    The above chart shows just how wide the disparity

    The above chart shows just how wide the disparity in use between upmost vs. uppermost is. Uppermost is a huge multiple above upmost, which barely even registers a line.

    Upmost

    Upmost is an adjective that is a mix of the adverb up and the adjective most. The word quite literally means most or to the highest or greatest position.

    It is a word that is commonly used to refer to the highest position, like its synonym uppermost.

    Upmost will be the correct word to use when discussing the highest position of something, not the degree. It is also used to imply that something is ranked the highest in one’s mind.

    Uppermost is generally preferred to upmost, but upmost is still a proper word to use in conversation. Upmost is used less commonly than uppermost due to the words meaning the same thing. If you have a choice between upmost and uppermost, you should always use uppermost.

    Examples We will do our upmost to protect children from the dangers of the internet.

    I live on the upmost floor of this building.

    The baseball made it all the way to the upmost deck in the stadium.

    I climbed to the upmost peak of that mountain!

    What is the Difference Between Upmost and Utmost?

    In this article, I will compare utmost vs. upmost. I will include example sentences, so you can see the words in context.

    Plus, I will show you a mnemonic device that will allow you to effortlessly choose between these words any time you are in doubt about which one to use.

    Phrases That Use Utmost

    As you could see from the examples above, there are a few different phrases that incorporate the word utmost.

    • The utmost respect.
    • The utmost importance.
    • Do one’s utmost.

    These three phrases use the word utmost not upmost.

    • I have the utmost respect for my father.
    • This is of the utmost importance.
    • Doing your utmost is all that I ask.

    How to use upmost vs. utmost

    Upmost vs. utmost is all about up vs. out.

    Utmost is typically used in contexts that involve things being at the utter limit or the outer limit. When you do your utmost, you go all out. The utmost point is the one that’s farthest out.

    Upmost, on the other hand, is usually about things that are the highest up—often in terms of physical height or priority (think of the top item on a list).

    If you’re describing something as being the greatest or the maximum among all options, either word might serve. But utmost is usually the right choice.

    Even though utmost can mean the same thing as highest, you wouldn’t use it to describe the top floor of a building. And, to be honest, you probably wouldn’t use upmost either (even though that’s what it properly means). In many cases, it may be best to replace upmost with uppermost, or topmost, or whatever word is clearest for a particular situation.

    In general, keep in mind that utmost is much more commonly used than upmost.

    Finally, here’s a handy synonym chart to help keep them straight.

    • utmost (as in greatest or maximum) = uttermost
    • utmost (as in farthest out) = outermost
    • upmost (as in highest up) = uppermost

    Examples of upmost and utmost used in a sentence

    Here are several sentences with upmost and utmost used in different (and sometimes similar) ways.

    • Hang the banner from the upmost turret of the castle.
    • Balancing our budget is upmost on my list of priorities.
    • It is of the utmost importance that we balance the budget.
    • I have done my utmost to balance the budget.
    • We provide the utmost in quality care.
    • The castle is located on the utmost part of the territory.

    Now take your knowledge to the next level and take this quiz on upmost vs. utmost.

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