plural apotheoses ə-ˌpä-thē-ˈō-ˌsēz How to pronounce apotheosis (audio)
: the perfect form or example of something : quintessence
the apotheosis of Hollywood glamour
… Nelson Rockefeller, the other top contender and the apotheosis of liberal Republicanism.Sam Tanenhaus
: the highest or best part of something : peak
The city reaches its apotheosis at the holiday …David Leavin
: elevation to divine status : deification
the apotheosis of Roman emperors
ˌa-pə-ˈthē-ə-ˌsīz How to pronounce apotheosis (audio)
transitive verb

Did you know?

Among the ancient Greeks, it was sometimes thought fitting to grant someone "god" status. Hence the word apothéōsis, from the verb apotheóō or apotheoûn, meaning "to deify." (All are rooted in Greek theós, meaning "god," which we can also thank for such religion-related terms as theology and atheism.). There's not a lot of literal apotheosizing to be had in modern English, but apotheosis is thriving in the 21st century. It can refer to the highest or best part of something, as in "the celebration reaches its apotheosis in an elaborate feast," or to a perfect example or ultimate form, as in "a movie that is the apotheosis of the sci-fi genre."

Examples of apotheosis in a Sentence

the apotheosis of the picaresque novel
Recent Examples on the Web Regardless, Dead Reckoning is the apotheosis of the big-budget spy blockbuster. Dennis Perkins, EW.com, 5 Apr. 2024 Sunset Sound represents the apotheosis of the recording industry’s heyday. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, 20 Feb. 2024 The 65 minutes leading to Me’s Affleck apotheosis add up to a pull-out-all-the-stops musical — wildly, deliriously ornate — that sweeps us through a string of extravagant fantasy numbers, all of them showcasing the album’s infectious songs. Tom Gliatto, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2024 To me, Scorsese has always been the apotheosis of a certain kind of American filmmaking: crisp effects, clinical execution, scene after scene pulsing with the inevitability of violence. Hazlitt, 7 Feb. 2024 Claudine Gay was in some respects the apotheosis of this process. Christopher F. Rufo, WSJ, 3 Jan. 2024 The-rags-to-riches story reaches it apotheosis in the trailer, as Harlow confidently walks the stage in an all-black leather outfit in front of an adoring hometown crowd. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 3 Jan. 2024 These glory days find their apotheosis in the band’s career-defining turn at Woodstock, captured in Michael Wadleigh’s 1970 film. Wesley Stace, WSJ, 29 Dec. 2023 The kind of pleasant, genre-agnostic pop Tedder and company make is taken to its apotheosis by an act like NCT Dream. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 12 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apotheosis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Late Latin apotheōsis "transformation into a god, deification," borrowed from Greek apothéōsis, from apotheō-, variant stem of apotheóō, apotheoûn "to transform into a god, deify" (from apo- apo- + theoûn "to make a god of," verbal derivative of theós "god") + -sis -sis — more at theo-

First Known Use

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of apotheosis was circa 1580


Dictionary Entries Near apotheosis

Cite this Entry

“Apotheosis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apotheosis. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on apotheosis

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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