Definition of ultramontane in US English:



  • 1Advocating supreme papal authority in matters of faith and discipline.

    ‘ultramontane Catholicism’
    Compare with Gallican
    • ‘Henry Manning, who progressed from convert to ultramontane cardinal, encouraged Pius IX to consolidate authority and claim infallibility when pronouncing ex cathedra.’
    • ‘Any priest who thinks he can dictate the political choices of his parishioners is living an ultramontane fantasy.’
    • ‘Weigel's ultramontane effusions about John Paul II are warmly endorsed.’
    • ‘The promulgation of the infallibility of the Pontiff and the universality of his episcopate reinforced this ultramontane dogma at the First Vatican Council.’
    • ‘The new immigrants and these ultramontane clerics who came to serve them overwhelmed the small, relatively Americanized Catholic Church they found here.’
  • 2Situated on the other side of the Alps from the point of view of the speaker.

    ‘ultramontane basins where almost no rain fell’
    • ‘Shatili is the best protected from ultramontane Khevsrian monuments.’
    • ‘The sun fell blinding white on the snowfields, and the dancing breeze swept ice crystals down from ultramontane glaciers.’
    • ‘These opinions were in opposition to the ideas which were called ultramontane.’


  • A person advocating supreme papal authority.

    • ‘Manifestly, it was going to be anathema to an ultramontane like him, who had seen over the previous five years the government install what he saw as a deplorable new godless and materialist proletarian state.’
    • ‘Even the terrible wounds inflicted after 1789 were beneficial in the long run, for the Church that emerged was much more populist, much more ultramontane, and generally better equipped to survive in a more pluralist world.’
    • ‘The so-called ultramontanes believed that the state should serve as the secular arm of the Church and enforce its monopoly of the truth against all rival ideologies.’
    • ‘You know what the categories are - ultramontane, gallican, liberal, integriste, laicite, anticlerical, etc. - they were virtually invented here, and they never change.’
    • ‘A second and related set of tensions divided Gallicans, who insisted on the independence of the national Church, and ultramontanes, who were more respectful of papal authority.’
    • ‘The mid-nineteenth century witnessed a ‘Catholic revival’ in Europe, with both ultramontane and liberal wings.’


Late 16th century (denoting a representative of the Roman Catholic Church north of the Alps): from medieval Latin ultramontanus, from Latin ultra ‘beyond’ + mons, mont- ‘mountain’.