I’m seeing a lot of floppy uses of the word ultimate lately, and the above promise from the makers of a massage chair in my local shopping mall is no exception. The Oxford dictionary tells me that, as an adjective, ultimate can either mean:

1. being or happening at the end of a process; final:

2. being the best or most extreme example of its kind:

Now, I don’t really think that the makers of FeelGood Massage Chairs1 mean to suggest that sitting in this chair might be the last thing you ever do, so we must infer that they are promising to give the sitter the best Shiatsu massage that money can buy.2

Somehow, this does not fit with my mental vision of the ultimate Japanese Shiatsu massage, which goes more like this:

Any other contentious uses of the word ultimate out there, Faithful Cowpokes?

  1. I’d just like to point out that this name is strikingly close to the Tetherd Cow Ahead trademarked proprietary process of FeelyGood™. I’d better get Cow Legal onto this. []
  2. Strictly speaking, I guess they are offering the best Shiatsu massage that $2 can buy, which I am pretty sure is never going to get into the ultimate range. []