\ ˈā-ˌpeks How to pronounce apex (audio) \
plural apexes or apices\ ˈā-​pə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce apices (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 apex predators, which are known to roam Arizona and New Mexico, are endangered but slowly rebounding. Mark Olalde, USA TODAY, "Climate Point: Antarctica finds itself in hot water," 14 Feb. 2020 The name alludes to the dinosaur's role a fearsome apex predator and was apparently inspired by Thanatos, the Greek god of death, and theristes (one who reaps or harvests). Fox News, "New 'reaper of death' Tyrannosaur species discovered in Canada," 11 Feb. 2020 Scientists believe the dinosaur was an apex predator of the area, and named it as such. Li Cohen, CBS News, "The T. Rex may be the King of Lizards, but its new cousin is the "Reaper of Death"," 10 Feb. 2020 The ranchers don’t want to raise cattle alongside bison, fearing disease exchange between species, as well as the return of apex predators. National Geographic, "Two visions collide amid push to restore Montana plains," 16 Jan. 2020 Environmentalists say that restoring the apex predators at the top of the food chain helps revive ecosystems, bringing back songbirds and salmon. Los Angeles Times, oregonlive, "26 dead wolves, 1 ranch in the spotlight," 21 Dec. 2019 The apex was a heavy-drinking spell in the 1970s and 1980s, when U.S. per-person alcohol consumption was 2.75 gallons. Washington Post, "US drinking more now than just before Prohibition," 14 Jan. 2020 The apex of the 2020 recruiting cycle took place Wednesday, as the start of the early signing period began, with many programs signing the bulk of their classes throughout the day. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Rewinding Auburn’s early signing day for 2020 recruiting class," 18 Dec. 2019 The apex of his misery comes upon meeting Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, the American astronauts who had recently made history by landing on the moon. Marie Claire, "Did Prince Philip Really Meet Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin?," 17 Nov. 2019

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

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apex.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apex. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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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 apices (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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More from Merriam-Webster on apex

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for apex

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with apex

Spanish Central: Translation of apex

Nglish: Translation of apex for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apex for Arabic Speakers

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