summum bonum

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From medieval philosophy; Latin for the highest good.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsʌməm ˈbəʊnəm/, /ˈsʊməm ˈbɒnəm/

Noun[edit]

summum bonum (plural summa bona)

  1. (philosophy) The greatest good; the ultimate importance, the singular and most ultimate end which human beings ought to pursue.
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, New York Review of Books, 2001, p.65:
      Our summum bonum is commodity, and the goddess we adore Dea Moneta, Queen Money, to whom we daily offer sacrifice […].

Usage notes[edit]

The term is used particularly in medieval philosophy.

See also[edit]


Latin[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From summus (superaltive of superus) + bonum (a moral good)

Noun[edit]

summum bonum

  1. (medieval, philosophy) The highest good; an ultimate goal of human existence.