Utmost or Upmost?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Utmost" and "Upmost"?

"Utmost" and "upmost" are easy to confuse because they are close in meaning. (They are not variant spellings of the same word.)
  • "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.
utmost or upmost

More about "Utmost" or "Upmost"

"Utmost" and "upmost" are not interchangeable. (These words have nothing to do with US and UK writing conventions. They are separate words.)

Utmost

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

Example sentences 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.)

Upmost

"Upmost" is an adjective meaning "located at the top," "highest," or" most upward positioned."

Example sentences 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.

Upmost Is Rare!

"Upmost" is far rarer than "utmost" (evidence).

"Upmost" is mostly seen when mistakenly used for "utmost"!

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

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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

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