Utmost or Upmost?

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
What is the difference between utmost and upmost?

Utmost means of the greatest degree or most extreme. For example:
  • Success in anything is through happiness. Being happy is of the utmost importance. (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)
Upmost means at the highest or most upward position. For example:
  • Take the upmost book from the pile.

Utmost or Upmost?

The words utmost and upmost are often confused because they sound similar and their meanings are close. However, they are not interchangeable.


The adjective utmost means of the greatest degree or most extreme. Utmost is a superlative. (Although rare, it can also be used as a noun.)

  • Attention to detail is of utmost importance when you want to look good. (Carolina Herrera)
  • I try to be me to the utmost. (Donald Glover)
  • (This is an example of utmost being used as a noun.)


The adjective upmost means located at the top, highest, or most upward position. The word upmost is far rarer than utmost (evidence). (NB: Upmost is mostly seen when mistakenly used for utmost.)

  • I placed the trophy on the upmost shelf.
  • The sweetest fruit is found on the upmost branch.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are adjectives? What is a superlative? List of easily confused words