\ˈā-ˌpeks \
plural apexes or apices\ˈā-​pə-​ˌsēz, 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

Insects and birds would thrive and eventually, apex predators would come back, restoring the cycle to one of health and equilibrium. Nina Sovich, WSJ, "The New Outdoor Getaway: Landscapes That Have Been ‘Rewilded’," 20 Sep. 2018 Sharks are archetype killers—often the apex predators of their environment, known for ripping prey to shreds. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "There's an Omnivore Shark That Loves Eating Plants," 7 Sep. 2018 Our obsession with sharks peaks every year with nothing less than a week-long immersion into frightening, funny, and outright fin-sane (sorry) television devoted to the apex predators of the ocean. Radhika Viswanathan, Vox, "Overfishing is decimating sharks. This map shows where they cross paths with fishing boats.," 26 July 2018 The three months that followed would later be seen as the apex of Anne’s upward trajectory. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Anne Boleyn," 25 May 2018 In fact, 2017 may go down as the apex of the Bad Dad phenomenon. Lucinda Rosenfeld, Town & Country, "What Happens to the Children of Infamous Fathers?," 21 Nov. 2017 Instead of providing a shield for the powerless, the First Amendment became a sword used by people at the apex of the American hierarchy of power. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment," 30 June 2018 While the show takes place decades ago, these issues also remain timely, given the long history of comedians who reached the apex of their field, only to meet tragic ends. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'I'm Dying Up Here' shows serious price of comedy stardom," 4 May 2018 Chief Justice Dipak Misra indicated the apex court would likely decriminalize the law. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: NATOhhh no...," 12 July 2018

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

24 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for apex

The first known use of apex was in 1590

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More Definitions for apex



English Language Learners Definition of apex

: the top or highest point of something


\ˈā-ˌpeks \
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 \
plural apexes or apices\ˈā-​pə-​ˌsēz \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with apex

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for apex

Spanish Central: Translation of apex

Nglish: Translation of apex for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apex for Arabic Speakers

Comments on apex

What made you want to look up apex? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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