Furthest vs. Farthest

Furthest and farthest differ in spelling, but they both mean “at the greatest distance or degree.” They’re the irregular superlative forms of far and can function as adverbs and adjectives. In everyday English, furthest is more commonly used than farthest. The subtle differences in usage between furthest and farthest are explored here.

When to Use Furthest

Furthest as an Adverb

Furthest is used more often than farthest when talking about the greatest degree or most advanced stage. It’s also used to mean the greatest distance from a point in time or place.

Her career developed the furthest in the history of the company.

What book explains the science of reading furthest?

His help went the furthest.

Furthest as an Adjective

When used as an adjective, furthest means the most distant in space, time, or order.

NASA continues to develop technology that can give information on the furthest reaches of space.

Explorers want to see the furthest ends of the world.

It’s sensible to not include the furthest extremes of the whole experience.

Furthest in Idioms

Although furthest and farthest mean the same thing, only furthest is used in the idiom “the furthest thing from someone’s mind.” The expression means something never occurred to someone or they’re not thinking about it because they have other things on their mind.

Going to space is the furthest thing from my mind.

It’s winter, so the forest fire was the furthest thing from everyone’s mind.

They’re so busy that having kids is the furthest thing from their minds.

The idiom “be far removed from something” also uses further and furthest as the comparative and superlative forms of far respectively. This expression means to be different from or not connected with something.

Danny has been so sick that he’s the furthest removed from his fraternity’s situation.

The movie is furthest removed from people’s reality.

There should be agencies that assist workers who are the furthest removed from employment. 

When to Use Farthest

Farthest as an Adverb

Farthest is often used when referring to physical distances. It’s also used to express the greatest extent or degree but not as much as furthest.

I’m going to the building that’s farthest away from the farm.

I shop at stores that are farthest from high-end districts.

Our athletes, whose discipline and endurance are legendary, can run the farthest.

Farthest as an Adjective

Like furthest, farthest is also used to mean the most distant in space, time, or order as an adjective.

It’s crazy to think we can actually go to the farthest parts of the earth.

I’d like to see the farthest room in this establishment.

The organization’s aim is to accomplish the farthest point of its financial goals.

Furthest vs. Farthest: What’s the Difference?

Using furthest or farthest is optional although it’s noted that people use furthest more in everyday English than farthest. Both words have the same meaning in spite of their difference in spelling. However, furthest is more preferred when referring to an abstract or figurative meaning while farthest is more preferred when referring to the physical sense of distances.


Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Farthest. In https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary. Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/farthest

Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Furthest. In https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary. Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/furthest

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Farthest. In https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/farthest

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Furthest. In https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/furthest 

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Farthest. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved from  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/farthest 

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Furthest. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/furthest