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 apotheosis (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 apotheosis (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 This trend reached its apotheosis in the run-up to the November election, as Trump broadcast his intention to challenge the validity of any votes that went against him. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "Better Than Nothing: A Look at Content Moderation in 2020," 27 Dec. 2020 Several months ago, diversity reached a comic apotheosis when Trader Joe’s was criticized as racist for selling brands such as Trader José and Trader Ming. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Joe Biden’s Cabinet of Diversity," 16 Dec. 2020 Stanley Kubrick famously borrowed the concept for the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, the cinematic apotheosis of the fatalism that came with living on hair-trigger alert for nuclear annihilation. Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic, "Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine," 15 Dec. 2020 But his famous aversion to the label of loser has now reached its apotheosis. Dan Barry, New York Times, "‘Loser’: How a Lifelong Fear Bookended Trump’s Presidency," 26 Nov. 2020 In some ways Genly Ai plays Horatio to Therem Estraven’s Hamlet, but Shakespeare’s Hamlet dies upward in an apotheosis, whereas Therem descends to icy darkness, crying out the name of his long-dead brother as though Genly has fused with Arek. Harold Bloom, The New Yorker, "The Strange Friendships of Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness”," 20 Nov. 2020 Its premise is the apotheosis of Silicon Valley hubris, perfectly captured in the character of Tobias Erkner, founder of the contest and the Amazing Future Fund. Washington Post, "In ‘Kraft,’ German author Jonas Lüscher pokes fun at Silicon Valley’s shiny elitism and rabid faith in technology," 18 Nov. 2020 Wokeism achieved its apotheosis in 2014, in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "An Ex-Liberal Reluctantly Supports Trump," 16 Oct. 2020 Democrats will need some plan of action for the Supreme Court that doesn’t rely on Mitch McConnell letting any argument of principle or precedent or even electoral catastrophe distract him from the apotheosis of his career. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "McConnell Will Sacrifice Anything to Fill Ginsburg’s Seat—Even His Senate Majority," 23 Sep. 2020

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

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apotheosis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apotheosis. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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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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