apo·​the·​o·​sis | \ ə-ˌpä-thē-ˈō-səs How to pronounce apotheosis (audio) , ˌa-pə-ˈthē-ə-səs How to pronounce apotheosis (audio) \
plural apotheoses\ ə-​ˌpä-​thē-​ˈō-​ˌsēz How to pronounce apotheoses (audio) , ˌa-​pə-​ˈthē-​ə-​ˌsēz \

Definition of apotheosis

1a : 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
b : the highest or best part of something : peak The city reaches its apotheosis at the holiday …— David Leavin
2 : elevation to divine status : deification the apotheosis of Roman emperors

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Other Words from apotheosis

apotheosize \ ˌa-​pə-​ˈthē-​ə-​ˌsīz How to pronounce apotheosize (audio) , ə-​ˈpä-​thē-​ə-​ \ transitive verb

Did You Know?

Among the ancient Greeks, it was sometimes thought fitting - or simply handy, say if you wanted a god somewhere in your bloodline - to grant someone or other god status. So they created the word apotheosis, meaning "making into a god." (The prefix apo- can mean simply "quite" or "completely," and "theos" is the Greek word for "god.") There's not a lot of Greek-style apotheosizing in the 21st century, but there is hero-worship. Our extended use of "apotheosis" as "elevation to divine status" is the equivalent of "placement on a very high pedestal." Even more common these days is to use "apotheosis" in reference to a perfect example or ultimate form. For example, one might describe a movie as "the apotheosis of the sci-fi movie genre."

Examples of apotheosis in a Sentence

the apotheosis of the picaresque novel
Recent Examples on the Web Boyfriend Material is the apotheosis of the rom-com, a story that balances personal insight, whip-smart dialogue, biting humor, and deep yearning. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Hot Stuff: Summer romances give love its time in the sun," 5 Aug. 2020 The dogma that the purpose of soccer is not to succeed, but to survive, now has its apotheosis. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Soccer Arrives at a Fork in the Road," 8 May 2020 The ballet’s tragic ending, with both Odette and Siegfried throwing themselves into the lake, resolves most prettily in scenic designer Zack Brown’s slowly appearing sunrise to the score’s concluding apotheosis. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "The Staying Inside Guide: A ‘Dream,’ a ‘Lake’—an Escape," 31 Mar. 2020 The story of Drew Ali’s apotheosis may be vaudevillian, but his influence endures. Julian Lucas, Harper's Magazine, "New Books," 30 Mar. 2020 After 9/11, this post–Cold War posturing reached its apotheosis. Andrew J. Bacevich, Harper's magazine, "The Old Normal," 2 Mar. 2020 But in many eyes Davos is the apotheosis of global capitalism, which is on the back foot. The Economist, "A tour of the Magic Mountain Can the World Economic Forum keep its mojo?," 16 Jan. 2020 The zero-waste lifestyle might just be reaching its apotheosis in our era. Dakota Kim, Sunset Magazine, "Ditch the Plastic Packaging: 6 Refill Stores for Kitchen, Bath, and Home," 10 Feb. 2020 The geography of jazz is hierarchical and evolutionary: New Orleans as Bethlehem and Jerusalem both, then up the river to Chicago, the conquest of New York (with special attention to Harlem), Kansas City and the apotheosis of swing, and so on. BostonGlobe.com, "Three jazz photography shows where what you see is what you hear - The Boston Globe," 18 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apotheosis.' 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 apotheosis

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for apotheosis

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-

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Time Traveler for apotheosis

Time Traveler

The first known use of apotheosis was circa 1580

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Last Updated

16 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apotheosis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apotheosis. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for apotheosis


How to pronounce apotheosis (audio) How to pronounce apotheosis (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of apotheosis

: the perfect form or example of something
: the highest or best part of something

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More from Merriam-Webster on apotheosis

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for apotheosis

Britannica English: Translation of apotheosis for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about apotheosis

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