\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

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 The Pistons' point guard came along in what many consider the NBA's apex — the 1980s and 1990s. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "1 G.O.A.T. to rule 'em all? Who's the greatest in Detroit team sports?," 10 June 2018 That is largely because the choices are not seen as the apex of a political struggle with consequences that could endure for a generation. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "Selecting a Supreme Court justice doesn’t have to be a battle royal. Here’s how other countries do it.," 10 July 2018 At its apex, soccer is more elite than ever, even as the sport’s base expands. Brian Straus, SI.com, "The Factors and Figures Behind Europe's World Cup Dominance Trend," 8 July 2018 Fireworks are essentially low-tech missiles that are shot into the air with one charge, and then lit at their apex by another. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "O say can you see? The science behind the booms and blooms of Independence Day fireworks," 3 July 2018 There’s the bro-friendly raunch-com variety, launched by The 40-Year-Old Virgin in 2005; its apex, as far as romcom material goes, is probably 2007’s Knocked Up and 2008’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Netflix’s totally delightful Set It Up proves just how durable the romcom formula is," 29 June 2018 Several people were rescued on Monday at a Six Flags America in Maryland after a 205-foot-tall roller coaster unexpectedly stopped and got stuck near its apex. Monica Rodriguez, Fortune, "Six Flags Roller Coaster Stuck at Peak Leaves Riders Stranded," 19 June 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

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for apex

The first known use of apex was in 1590

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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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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