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 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shag carpeting reached the apogee of its popularity in the 1970s but is now considered outdated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 Think then of it as the ideal last gasp, the apogee of a band reveling in its popularity enough to apply steroids to its most commercial sound. Alfred Soto, Billboard, "Forever No. 1: Roxette's 'Joyride'," 12 Dec. 2019 The mission had a target of 350,000 feet, but fell short reaching an apogee of 343,061 feet, which is still higher than the 100 km mark known as the Karman line, an internationally accepted threshold for space. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, "Blue Origin sends New Shepard rocket into space for record mission," 11 Dec. 2019 Divining human emotions in dogs is a symptom of canine mania that has reached its apogee in America. The Economist, "Lexington Impoochment," 21 Nov. 2019 Staying in one place for long periods is a large part of what allowed this civilization to evolve to such a magnificent apogee in a harsh desert landscape. Jim Robbins, New York Times, "Searching for the Ancestral Puebloans," 6 Nov. 2019 For some members of the family this was the apogee of their careers. The Economist, "In the ring with India’s most powerful woman," 25 Oct. 2019 That’s because the moon will be at apogee, or the farthest point in its roughly four-week orbit. Matthew Cappucci, Twin Cities, "Coming this Friday night: The first full moon on Friday the 13th in 13 years," 12 Sep. 2019 Many will argue that GT4 was the apogee of the series (and this fifth place here is too low down the list). Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The ten best console racing games of all time," 22 Aug. 2019 At its apogee, the full moon will appear 14% smaller to people on Earth than when the moon is at its closest, making it a micromoon, HuffPost reported. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "A full harvest moon is coming Friday the 13th. But here's why it'll actually look small," 10 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for apogee

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The first known use of apogee was in 1640

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Last Updated

27 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Apogee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apogee. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for apogee


How to pronounce apogee (audio)

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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