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.

Illustration of apogee

Illustration of apogee

apogee 1

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Other Words from apogee

apogean \ ˌa-​pə-​ˈjē-​ən How to pronounce apogee (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shag carpeting reached the apogee of its popularity in the 1970s but is now considered outdated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 The crew capsule reached an apogee of 350,827 feet before returning to Earth nearly 10 minutes after launch. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "LIVE: Watch Blue Origin Launch Its New Shepard Rocket," 14 Jan. 2021 Even reaching apogee would’ve been great, so controlling all way to putting the crater in the right spot was epic!! William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX launches Starship prototype on spectacular test flight, rocket explodes on touchdown," 10 Dec. 2020 The new grand manner is again showing us the course of empire, on the far side of the apogee. Washington Post, "America needs an epic narrative right now. Painters are working on it.," 28 Nov. 2020 That insight reached its apogee with their argument that stock and bond markets’ expected returns were about equal. Chris Farrell, Star Tribune, "'Dow 36,000' is still wrong. It pays to recall why.," 21 Nov. 2020 Female writers were troubled by Ms. Morris’s value judgments on the differences between the sexes, which were especially controversial in an era when the feminist movement was reaching its apogee. Jonathan Kandell, New York Times, "Jan Morris, Celebrated Writer of Place and History, Is Dead at 94," 20 Nov. 2020 The nearly four-ton satellite will be deployed into a transfer orbit with an apogee of about 20,000km. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX launches Space Force mission, appears to settle engine issue [Updated]," 6 Nov. 2020 The moon had its furthest apogee of the year in March. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Halloween, Look for the Hunter’s Blue Moon," 26 Oct. 2020 This was the junior-squash world at its pre-pandemic apogee—the Hunger Games for the ruling class. Ruth S. Barrett, The Atlantic, "Rich Parents Went All In on Lacrosse. And Squash. And Water Polo.," 17 Oct. 2020

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

31 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apogee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apogee. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for apogee



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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