\ ˈā-ˌpeks How to pronounce apex (audio) \
plural apexes or apices\ ˈā-​pə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce apex (audio) , ˈa-​ \

Definition of apex

1a : the uppermost point : vertex the apex of a mountain
b : the narrowed or pointed end : tip the apex of the tongue
2 : the highest or culminating point the apex of his career
3 : the point of sharpest curvature in a path (such as that followed by a turning vehicle) a driver hitting the apex as he races around a corner At the apex of the turn his rear wheels apparently came unstuck from the oil-drenched groove.— Robert F. Jones

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Choose the Right Synonym for apex

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?

Apex entered English from Latin, where it originally meant "a small rod at the top of a flamen's cap." What's a flamen's cap? Flamens were priests who devoted themselves to serving just one of the many ancient Roman gods (for instance, just Jupiter or Mars). Those priests wore distinctive conical caps that English speakers dubbed "flamen's caps." Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century dramatist Ben Jonson was one of the few English writers known to have used "apex" in its flamen's-cap sense: "Upon his head a hat of delicate wool, whose top ended in a cone, and was thence called apex."

Examples of apex in a Sentence

she reached the apex of fame, only to find it wasn't what she expected the apex of the spear
Recent Examples on the Web The voracious appetite of these apex predators disrupts the food chain in environmentally fragile areas like the Everglades. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Wait, snake and eggs for breakfast? Florida might encourage to fight python invasion," 21 Dec. 2020 Conservationists, on the other hand, say that the apex predators contribute vitally to a healthy ecosystem and are still functionally extinct in about 85 percent of their historic range. Max G. Levy, Smithsonian Magazine, "These Non-Lethal Methods Encouraged by Science Can Keep Wolves From Killing Livestock," 11 Dec. 2020 The voracious appetite of these apex predators disrupts the food chain in environmentally fragile areas like the Everglades. Chris Perkins, sun-sentinel.com, "Snake and eggs for breakfast? Florida may soon encourage you to eat invasive pythons," 9 Dec. 2020 The Ramona Wildlife Center specializes in caring for apex predators and birds of prey, including hawks, owls, eagles, coyotes, bears, bobcats and mountain lions. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "A bobcat rescued from the California wildfires has been treated for burns and released back into the wild," 5 Dec. 2020 To me, tigers are massive, powerful apex predators. National Geographic, "Episode 6: The Trouble with America's Captive Tigers," 1 Dec. 2020 Anyone who was thinking that the need for comfort food hit its apex during the first months of the pandemic did not anticipate election day in the U.S. Kate Krader, Bloomberg.com, "This Tomato Soup Is Here to Provide Relief During Stressful Times," 6 Nov. 2020 When Indianapolis hit the apex of its 2019 season a year ago, the Colts were basking in accolades. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: The Colts are 5-2 again, but this time they can see the gauntlet coming," 4 Nov. 2020 In fact, Top debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week marks the third time he's hit the apex in the past 12 months -- first doing so with the AI YoungBoy 2 mixtape last October, then with his 38 Baby 2 tape in April. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Five Burning Questions: YoungBoy Never Broke Again's 'Top' Debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200," 22 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apex.' 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 apex

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for apex


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Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apex.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apex. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for apex


How to pronounce apex (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of apex

: the top or highest point of something


\ ˈā-ˌpeks How to pronounce apex (audio) \
plural apexes or apices\ ˈā-​pə-​ˌsēz \

Kids Definition of apex

1 : the highest point : peak “She's on top of the roof, walking with a foot either side of the apex …”— Brian Jacques, Redwall
2 : the most successful time He was at the apex of his career.


\ ˈā-ˌpeks How to pronounce apex (audio) \
plural apexes or apices\ ˈā-​pə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce apex (audio) \

Medical Definition of apex

: a narrowed or pointed end of an anatomical structure: as
a : the narrow somewhat conical upper part of a lung extending into the root
b : the lower pointed end of the heart situated in humans opposite the space between the cartilages of the fifth and sixth ribs on the left side
c : the extremity of the root of a tooth

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