# What is the origin and meaning of the phrase “Lambda the ultimate?”

I've been messing around with functional programming languages for a few years, and I keep encountering this phrase.

I understand what lambda means, the idea of an anonymous function is both simple and powerful, but I fail to understand what "the ultimate" means in this context.

I feel like I'm missing a reference here, can anyone help?

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I don't know. But it probably relates to a series of "Lambda the Ultimate _____ " papers that are collected here. Whether those authors invented the phrase, or were using something older, is a question someone else will have to answer. –  Aaron Sterling Sep 12 '11 at 15:19
Aaron is right. –  Dave Clarke Sep 12 '11 at 15:22
If @Aaron is correct, it simply raises another question. –  Eric Wilson Sep 12 '11 at 15:24
N.B. -- This question was also posted on programmers.SE, where it acquired two answers. I answered there instead of here because my remarks about the meaning were merely informed speculation. –  C. A. McCann Sep 13 '11 at 16:48
Sorry for the cross-posting, I wasn't sure which site was the better fit. –  Eric Wilson Sep 13 '11 at 17:15