Simple Definition of zenith
: the strongest or most successful period of time
: the highest point reached in the sky by the sun, moon, etc.
Examples of zenith in a sentence
<at the zenith of her career as a dancer>
Did You Know?
When you reach the zenith, you’re at the top, the pinnacle, the summit, the peak. Zenith developed from Arabic terms meaning "the way over one’s head," and then traveled through Old Spanish, Medieval Latin, and Middle French before arriving in English. As long ago as the 1300s, English speakers used zenith to name the highest point in the celestial heavens, directly overhead. By the 1600s, zenith was being used for other high points as well. As in our example sentence, zenith is often contrasted with nadir. In celestial contexts, the nadir is the point that is vertically downward from the observer (imagine a line going through the earth from the observer's feet and out the other side into the sky). Figuratively, nadir simply means "the lowest point."
Origin of zenith
Middle English cenyth, senyth, from Middle French cenit, from Medieval Latin, from Old Spanish zenit, modification of Arabic samt (al-ra's) way (over one's head)
First Known Use: 14th century
ZENITH Defined for Kids
Definition of zenith for Students
1 : the point in the sky directly overhead
2 : the highest point or stage <She was at the zenith of her career.>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up zenith? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).