1590s, from Middle French ultramontain "beyond the mountains" (especially the Alps), from Old French (early 14c.), from Latin ultra "beyond" (from suffixed form of PIE root *al- (1) "beyond") + stem of mons "hill" (from PIE root *men-(2) "to project"). Used especially of papal authority, though "connotation varies according to the position of the speaker or writer." [Weekley]
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