apo·​gee | \ ˈa-pə-(ˌ)jē How to pronounce apogee (audio) \

Definition of apogee

1 : the point in the orbit of an object (such as a satellite) orbiting the earth that is at the greatest distance from the center of the earth also : the point farthest from a planet or a satellite (such as the moon) reached by an object orbiting it — compare perigee
2 : the farthest or highest point : culmination Aegean civilization reached its apogee in Crete.

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Illustration of apogee

apogee 1

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Other Words from apogee

apogean \ ˌa-​pə-​ˈjē-​ən How to pronounce apogean (audio) \ adjective

Of Apogees, Climaxes, and Culminations

Apogee is often used in its figurative sense, signifying the high point of a career, endeavor, or state (“she was at the apogee of her profession”). This meaning developed as a metaphorical extension of the word’s astronomical sense, denoting the farthest distance from earth of an object orbiting the planet.

A number of other English words that are synonymous with apogee have followed a similar path of figurative development from a technical meaning. Climax (“the most interesting and exciting part of something”) came into English as a term for a series of phrases arranged in ascending order of rhetorical forcefulness. And, very much like apogee, culmination (“the final result of something”) is also rooted in astronomy: it originally referred to the highest point a celestial body reaches in its daily revolution (for example, the sun’s height at noon).

Examples of apogee in a Sentence

shag carpeting reached the apogee of its popularity in the 1970s but is now considered outdated

Recent Examples on the Web

But not until 1793 and the revolutionary Reign of Terror did the prison reach its hideous apogee as a scene of suffering. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 2019 Gustavo Dudamel made the symphony the inevitable apogee of nine months’ worth of near quotidian historic big moments. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Essential Arts: Time to place bets on the Tony Awards. Hint — we’re into ‘Hadestown’," 8 June 2019 Late last week, the vehicle launched by a Falcon Heavy rocket in February reached its first apogee from the Sun at a distance of 1.66 Astronomical Units, or about 250 million km, which puts it well beyond the orbit of Mars. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: SpaceX gets top clearance, Europe job cuts, Russian plans," 16 Nov. 2018 The Flying Cloud, while not the largest clipper ever built, may be taken for the apogee of this trend. Randall Fuller, WSJ, "‘Barons of the Sea’ Review: Rigging the Market," 19 July 2018 At the blazing apogee of the Second World War, a poignant essay on the embattled life of refugees and immigrants was published in an obscure 1943 journal. Amro Ali, Time, "Denmark’s “Ghetto” Policies Are an Ominous Sign That Liberal Europe Is Starting to Unravel at the Seams," 3 July 2018 This is lightning in a bottle: the Beatles and Beatlemania at their apogee, with all the requisite screaming, racing and mop-top clowning. Jordan Hoffman, New York Times, "Where to Stream the Best, and the Most Ridiculous, of the Beatles on Film," 9 July 2018 At its farthest point, or apogee, TESS will have an unobstructed view of the sky and will move beyond interference from the Van Allen radiation belts, which encircle Earth. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Five Things to Know About NASA’s New Planet-Hunting Satellite," 17 Apr. 2018 Still, the five-day Test match is the apogee of the sport. Chris Stokel-walker, chicagotribune.com, "Cricket races to save itself from years of declining popularity," 14 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apogee.' 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 apogee

1640, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for apogee

French apogée, from New Latin apogaeum, from Greek apogaion, from neuter of apogeios, apogaios far from the earth, from apo- + gē, gaia earth

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2019

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The first known use of apogee was in 1640

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English Language Learners Definition of apogee

formal : the highest point of something
technical : the point in outer space where an object traveling around the Earth (such as a satellite or the moon) is farthest away from the Earth

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More from Merriam-Webster on apogee

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for apogee

Britannica English: Translation of apogee for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about apogee

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