plural apexes or apices ˈā-pə-ˌsēz How to pronounce apex (audio)
: the uppermost point : vertex
the apex of a mountain
: the narrowed or pointed end : tip
the apex of the tongue
: the highest or culminating point
the apex of his career
: 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

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."

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

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 This period is known for the rise of pottery cultures, the apex of the hunter-gatherer culture, and an emerging preference for permanent settlements toward its end. Jack Knudson, Discover Magazine, 10 May 2024 When Season Three of Hacks begins, legendary comedian Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) is at an improbable professional apex. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 2 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for apex 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apex.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



First Known Use

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of apex was in 1590


Dictionary Entries Near apex

Cite this Entry

“Apex.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural apexes or apices ˈā-pə-ˌsēz How to pronounce apex (audio)
: the uppermost point : top
apex of a mountain
: tip entry 4 sense 1
apex of the tongue
: the highest point
at the apex of her career

Medical Definition


plural apexes or apices ˈā-pə-ˌsēz How to pronounce apex (audio)
: a narrowed or pointed end of an anatomical structure: as
: the narrow somewhat conical upper part of a lung extending into the root
: 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
: the extremity of the root of a tooth

More from Merriam-Webster on apex

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