pinnacle

noun
pin·​na·​cle | \ ˈpi-ni-kəl \

Definition of pinnacle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 : a structure or formation suggesting a pinnacle specifically : a lofty peak
3 : the highest point of development or achievement : acme

pinnacle

verb
pinnacled; pinnacling\ ˈpi-​ni-​k(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of pinnacle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to surmount with a pinnacle
2 : to raise or rear on a pinnacle

Illustration of pinnacle

Illustration of pinnacle

Noun

P pinnacle 1

In the meaning defined above

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Choose the Right Synonym for pinnacle

Noun

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

Did You Know?

Noun

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.

Examples of pinnacle in a Sentence

Noun

a singer who has reached the pinnacle of success

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Derby, first staged in 1780, is the pinnacle of European Flat racing and comes with a hefty dose of folklore and a chunky first prize of £920,000 ($1.23M). Rob Hodgetts, CNN, "The Derby: Saxon Warrior set for '£50M payday' for Epsom Classic win," 31 May 2018 Yet the pinnacle of today's club game continued to evade the frontman until the very last. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 4 Weeks to Go - A Career Overview of Brazil's 2002 World Cup Hero, Ronaldo," 27 May 2018 Image Sometimes, the pinnacle of athletic achievement does not come with the bases loaded and the pennant on the line. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "Pitching Again After 3 (Three!) Tommy John Surgeries," 4 May 2018 The pinnacle of motorsports, two global superstar musicians and all of the festive entertainment that comes with the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix defines the weekend as the greatest sports and entertainment celebration of the year. Julia Marzovilla, Billboard, "Britney Spears & Bruno Mars Set to Perform at Formula 1 United States Grand Prix," 25 Apr. 2018 For the patriarch and his family, the pinnacle of American political power has turned out to be a wellspring of trouble. Sharon Lafraniere, BostonGlobe.com, "For Kushners, redemption in the White House was mirage," 1 Apr. 2018 In some ways, the present moment looks like a pinnacle for Bryce Harper. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Is 2018 really all about Russia?," 18 July 2018 Chun-Li is the pinnacle for justice, as portrayed by her deep care for protecting innocence and love for children. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Who Is Chun-Li, the Inspiration Behind Nicki Minaj's New Single?," 10 Apr. 2018 Pink called swimming in college the pinnacle for high school and club swimming. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "Swimming: Atascocita sends nine to state meet," 10 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At the start of 2015, Hollar's weight pinnacled at 678. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "Surgery helped him lose almost 500 pounds. Now insurance won't help remove excess skin.," 4 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pinnacle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pinnacle

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pinnacle

Noun

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

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Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for pinnacle

The first known use of pinnacle was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pinnacle

pinnacle

noun

English Language Learners 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

pinnacle

noun
pin·​na·​cle | \ ˈpi-nə-kəl \

Kids Definition of pinnacle

1 : the peak of a mountain
2 : the highest point of development or achievement Winning the award was the pinnacle of her career.
3 : a slender tower generally coming to a narrow point at the top

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