Upmost or Utmost – The Correct Way to Use Each

Upmost vs. Utmost: What’s the Gist?

  • Upmost functions as an adjective. It is an uncommon variant of uppermost.
  • Utmost also functions as an adjective. It means to the greatest extent. It is commonly found in the phrase the utmost respect.

Continue reading for a full description of the two.

upmost versus utmost

Upmost and utmost are not homophones, but they are close. They are both adjectives, and they are both spelled similarly.

Given these similarities, some writers occasionally confuse the two. It’s not an extremely common mistake, but it’s worth going over.

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.

How to Use Utmost

Utmost definition: Utmost is an adjective. It means to the greatest extent possible or highest degree.

If you have the utmost respect for someone, for instance, you would be unable to respect that person any higher than you already do.

Here are a few more examples,

  • “This is a matter of utmost importance!” proclaimed the court jester.
  • A toddler will push you to the utmost limit of your patience, and then gleefully push you even further.
  • I have the utmost respect for my boss, but I still disagree with her sometimes.

Utmost is also used in the phrase to do one’s utmost, which means to one’s best.

When to Use Upmost

Upmost definition: Upmost is also an adjective. It is a shortened version of uppermost, meaning the highest in a stack or ranking.

Here are a few examples,

  • The slugger hit a home run into the upmost deck of the stadium.
  • The mountaineer climbed to the upmost peak, and raised the flag of his home country.

Upmost is sometimes used instead of utmost, but this usage is considered and error. The following chart graphs the usage of his utmost and his upmost to isolate this usage:

what does utmost mean

As you can see, upmost has always trailed utmost when used in this way. Even while utmost has seen a decline in overall use, upmost has not gained enough group to register a blip. This clearly illustrates the usage pattern of these two words.

A similar graph of upmost respect vs. utmost respect shows the same thing.

what does upmost mean

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.


Should I use utmost or upmost? Utmost and upmost are both adjectives.

  • Utmost means highest or to the greatest extent possible.
  • Upmost means at the top of a stack or ranking, and is a shortening of uppermost.

Occasionally, writers will use upmost when they really mean upmost. This should be avoided in your writing. Remember, utmost, with an extra T, means most extreme. The T is your clue to the word’s usage.

Remember, you can always reread this article any time you are wondering if upmost or utmost is the word you’re looking for.