apogee

play
noun apo·gee \ˈa-pə-(ˌ)jē\

Definition of apogee

  1. 1 :  the point in the orbit of an object (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 (as the moon) reached by an object orbiting it — compare perigee

  2. 2 :  the farthest or highest point :  culmination <Aegean civilization reached its apogee in Crete>

apogean

play \ˌa-pə-ˈjē-ən\ adjective

Examples of apogee in a sentence

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shag carpeting reached the apogee of its popularity in the 1970s but is now considered outdated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

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).

Illustration of apogee

Origin and Etymology of apogee

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


First Known Use: 1594


APOGEE Defined for English Language Learners

apogee

play
noun apo·gee \ˈa-pə-(ˌ)jē\

Definition of apogee for English Language Learners

  • : the highest point of something

  • : 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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