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

Example Sentences

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 robot learns to carry its speed into the apex, then brakes sharply to turn and accelerates out of the corner, to minimize the driving duration. IEEE Spectrum, 28 Apr. 2023 Beyond that, the apex of the peaked roofline has been pulled back so the hood flows gracefully into the windshield and roof. Dan Edmunds, Car and Driver, 14 Dec. 2022 It was built at Rome’s apex, for games, historical reenactments, forums, and funerals. WIRED, 2 Dec. 2022 This might have been the best moment of his life, the apex of the Ferris wheel. Rich Cohen, WSJ, 12 Nov. 2022 San Jose suffered the biggest fall, tumbling 10.8% through September from its apex in April. Byshawn Tully, Fortune, 22 Oct. 2022 Positioned at the apex of society, her sphere was narrow. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 8 Sep. 2022 Unrest has spread across multiple major cities, resulting in unprecedented scenes of defiant crowds breaking into military properties and setting the homes of army personnel ablaze, directly challenging a usually untouchable force that has long sat at the apex of power in Pakistan. Rhea Mogul, CNN, 11 May 2023 And so for me, the opportunity to tell the story of that personality as well as the guy at the apex of his powers [in the flashbacks] inside of the same story, and sometimes inside of the same episode, was an amazing opportunity. Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 May 2023 See More

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 4 Jun. 2023.

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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