We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.


noun cli·max \ˈklī-ˌmaks\

: the most exciting and important part of a story, play, or movie that occurs usually at or near the end

: the most interesting and exciting part of something : the high point

: the most intense point of sexual pleasure

Full Definition of CLIMAX

:  a figure of speech in which a series of phrases or sentences is arranged in ascending order of rhetorical forcefulness
a :  the highest point :  culmination <the climax of a distinguished career>
b :  the point of highest dramatic tension or a major turning point in the action (as of a play)
c :  orgasm
d :  menopause
:  a relatively stable ecological stage or community especially of plants that is achieved through successful adaptation to an environment; especially :  the final stage in ecological succession
cli·max·less adjective

Examples of CLIMAX

  1. The movie's climax is a fantastic chase scene.
  2. At the novel's climax, the main character finds herself face to face with the thief.
  3. the climax of her career
  4. The protest in May was the climax of a series of demonstrations in the nation's capital.

Origin of CLIMAX

Late Latin, from Greek klimax, literally, ladder, from klinein to lean
First Known Use: circa 1550

Synonym Discussion of CLIMAX

summit, peak, pinnacle, climax, apex, acme, culmination mean the highest point attained or attainable. summit implies the topmost level attainable <at the summit of the Victorian social scene>. peak suggests the highest among other high points <an artist working at the peak of her powers>. pinnacle suggests a dizzying and often insecure height <the pinnacle of worldly success>. climax implies the highest point in an ascending series <the war was the climax to a series of hostile actions>. apex implies the point where all ascending lines converge <the apex of Dutch culture>. acme implies a level of quality representing the perfection of a thing <a statue that was once deemed the acme of beauty>. culmination suggests the outcome of a growth or development representing an attained objective <the culmination of years of effort>.

Other Performing Arts Terms

diva, dramaturgy, loge, prestidigitation, proscenium, supernumerary, zany



: to reach the most exciting or important part in something

: to occur at the end as the most exciting or important part of (something)

: to have an orgasm

Full Definition of CLIMAX

transitive verb
:  to bring to a climax <climaxed his boxing career with a knockout>
intransitive verb
:  to come to a climax <a riot climaxing in the destruction of several houses>

Examples of CLIMAX

  1. The movie climaxes with a fantastic chase scene.
  2. The May protest climaxed a series of demonstrations in the nation's capital.

First Known Use of CLIMAX

CLIMAXLESS Defined for Kids


noun cli·max \ˈklī-ˌmaks\

Definition of CLIMAX for Kids

:  the most interesting, exciting, or important time or part of something <a story's climax>
Medical Dictionary


noun cli·max \ˈklī-ˌmaks\

Medical Definition of CLIMAX

:  the highest or most intense point
:  orgasm
a :  menopause 1a(2) b :  andropause


Next Word in the Dictionary: climax basketPrevious Word in the Dictionary: climatypeAll Words Near: climax
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears