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noun pin·na·cle \ˈpi-ni-kəl\

Simple Definition of pinnacle

  • : a high mountain top

  • : the best or most important part of something : the point of greatest success or achievement

  • : a tower on the roof of a building that comes to a narrow point at the top

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of pinnacle

  1. 1 :  an upright architectural member generally ending in a small spire and used especially in Gothic construction to give weight especially to a buttress

  2. 2 :  a structure or formation suggesting a pinnacle; specifically :  a lofty peak

  3. 3 :  the highest point of development or achievement :  acme

Examples of pinnacle in a sentence

  1. <a singer who has reached the pinnacle of success>

Did You Know?

Pinnacle is one of several words that aspire to both literal and figurative heights. Others include summit, peak, climax, apex, acme, and culmination. All of these can refer to the highest point of a mountain or structure, or the highest point attained or attainable over a person's lifetime, career, etc. When referring to part of a building, pinnacle describes a projection on top of a tower (as on a Gothic cathedral). The word derives via Anglo-French from Late Latin pinnaculum, meaning "small wing," a diminutive of pinna, meaning "wing or battlement." When used figuratively, pinnacle sometimes implies a dizzying and insecure height, such as that brought on by unexpected fame.

Illustration of pinnacle

Origin of pinnacle

Middle English pinacle, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin pinnaculum small wing, gable, from Latin pinna wing, battlement

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of pinnacle

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 Architecture Terms

Rhymes with pinnacle



verb, pin·na·cle

Definition of pinnacle

pinnacledpinnacling \-k(ə-)liŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to surmount with a pinnacle

  3. 2 :  to raise or rear on a pinnacle

14th Century

First Known Use of pinnacle

14th century

Other Architecture Terms

PINNACLE Defined for Kids


noun pin·na·cle \ˈpi-nə-kəl\

Definition of pinnacle for Students

  1. 1 :  the peak of a mountain

  2. 2 :  the highest point of development or achievement <Winning the award was the pinnacle of her career.>

  3. 3 :  a slender tower generally coming to a narrow point at the top

Seen and Heard

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to dishevel or rumple

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