\ 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

Tier 1 positions are the apex of the White House staff team. Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, Washington Post, "Trump set a record for White House staff turnover in the first year," 16 Jan. 2018 The 10th House The Tenth House, located at the very top of the birth chart, is the apex of your unique story. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 Kavanaugh’s confirmation, almost exactly a year after exposés on Harvey Weinstein made the #MeToo movement take off, will represent the apex of the #MeToo backlash. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Kavanaugh’s final countdown," 6 Oct. 2018 Bringing an all-new commercial airplane to life is the apex of any Boeing leader’s career. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "Boeing working intensely to firm up plans for proposed ‘797’," 17 July 2018 Using a lateral-acceleration sensor paired to a forward-looking camera, the S65 perceives corners and then uses its air suspension to tilt the body in toward the apex. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "3 Technologies That Are Making Car Suspensions Smarter Than Ever," 31 Jan. 2017 Image The train route between New York City and Chicago was once the apex of luxury travel: Passengers boarded after walking on a red carpet laid out on the platform and nibbled lobster Newburg on fine china in the dining car. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "New York-Chicago Direct Train Shuts Down for First Time in Over a Century," 8 June 2018 For Petro to even be within striking distance of Duque is a major feat — never before in Colombia’s history has a leftist been so close to the apex of power. Washington Post, "Ex-rebel looks to defy odds in Colombia presidential race," 16 June 2018 Sun’s sentence, handed down by the intermediate court in the northern port city of Tianjin, appears to end a career that had once been seen as propelling him to the apex of power. Christopher Bodeen, BostonGlobe.com, "China hands former political high-flyer life sentence for graft," 9 May 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

14 Apr 2019

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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 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

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

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marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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