Utmost or Upmost?

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Utmost or Upmost?

What is the difference between "utmost" and "upmost"?
  • "Utmost" means "to the greatest extent." For example:
    • Success in anything is through happiness. Being happy is of the utmost importance. (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)
  • "Upmost" means "uppermost" or "at the highest position." For example:
    • Take the upmost book from the pile.
utmost or upmost

More about "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.

More about "Utmost"

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

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

More about "Upmost"

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

Examples with upmost:
  • I placed the trophy on the upmost shelf.
  • The sweetest fruit is found on the upmost branch.
"Upmost Importance" or "Utmost Importance"?


Writers are often confused whether to write "utmost importance" or "upmost importance." The correct version is "utmost importance" as this means importance to the greatest extent. Remember that the word "upmost" is far less common than utmost and is used for the highest position (either a physical location or a list).

Common Terms with Upmost and Utmost

Here are some common terms with utmost and upmost:

Utmost (to the greatest extend):
  • utmost respect
  • utmost importance
  • utmost attention
  • utmost care
  • utmost confidence
  • utmost contempt
  • utmost discretion
  • utmost dedication
  • utmost gratitude
  • utmost sympathy
  • utmost thanks
Upmost (uppermost):
  • upmost position
  • upmost stair
  • upmost ranking
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