apogee

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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shag carpeting reached the apogee of its popularity in the 1970s but is now considered outdated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

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles launched from the North’s eastern coast flew about 143 miles on an apogee of 18 miles before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Kim Tong-hyung, BostonGlobe.com, "North Korea fires more projectiles, rules out talks with South Korea," 16 Aug. 2019 South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles launched from the North’s eastern coast flew about 230 kilometers (143 miles) on an apogee of 30 kilometers (18 miles) before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Washington Post, "N. Korea fires more projectiles, rules out talks with South," 16 Aug. 2019 South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles launched from the North's eastern coast flew about 230 kilometers (143 miles) on an apogee of 30 kilometers (18 miles) before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Kim Tong-hyung, Anchorage Daily News, "North Korea fires more projectiles as it rules out talks with South Korea," 16 Aug. 2019 The debate reached its apogee last week, when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office published a study taking into account most of the latest research and projecting the effects of the Raise the Wage Act. Lydia Depillis, CNN, "A $15 minimum wage started as a slogan. This week, it's set to pass the House," 15 July 2019 But instead of enjoying this annual apogee of summer, fans are abuzz about juiced balls. The Christian Science Monitor, "The rule of a higher law in Hong Kong," 9 July 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about apogee

Statistics for apogee

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apogee

The first known use of apogee was in 1640

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for apogee

apogee

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on apogee

What made you want to look up apogee? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!