climax

1 of 2

noun

cli·​max ˈklī-ˌmaks How to pronounce climax (audio)
1
: a figure of speech in which a series of phrases or sentences is arranged in ascending order of rhetorical forcefulness
2
a
: the highest point : culmination
the climax of a distinguished career
b
: the point of highest dramatic tension or a major turning point in the action (as of a play)
At the novel's climax, the main character finds herself face to face with the thief.
c
: orgasm
d
3
: a relatively stable ecological stage or community especially of plants that is achieved through successful adaptation to an environment
especially : the final stage in ecological succession
the tropical rain forest is a climatic climax P. W. Richards
climaxless adjective

climax

2 of 2

verb

climaxed; climaxing; climaxes

transitive verb

: to bring to a climax
climaxed his boxing career with a knockout
The protest in May climaxed a series of demonstrations in the nation's capital.

intransitive verb

: to come to a climax
a riot climaxing in the destruction of several houses
The movie climaxes with a fantastic chase scene.
Choose the Right Synonym for climax

summit, peak, pinnacle, climax, apex, acme, culmination mean the highest point attained or attainable.

summit implies the topmost level attainable.

at the summit of the Victorian social scene

peak suggests the highest among other high points.

an artist working at the peak of her powers

pinnacle suggests a dizzying and often insecure height.

the pinnacle of worldly success

climax implies the highest point in an ascending series.

the war was the climax to a series of hostile actions

apex implies the point where all ascending lines converge.

the apex of Dutch culture

acme implies a level of quality representing the perfection of a thing.

a statue that was once deemed the acme of beauty

culmination suggests the outcome of a growth or development representing an attained objective.

the culmination of years of effort

Examples of climax in a Sentence

Noun The movie's climax is a fantastic chase scene. At the novel's climax, the main character finds herself face to face with the thief. the climax of her career The protest in May was the climax of a series of demonstrations in the nation's capital. Verb The movie climaxes with a fantastic chase scene. The May protest climaxed a series of demonstrations in the nation's capital.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In the isolated Swedish countryside of the never-setting sun, Midsommar hints at deeper, darker forces underneath the commune’s folksy and welcoming exterior, leading to a climax where the full weight of tradition and belief roars with terrifying finality. Dennis Perkins and Chris Bellamy, EW.com, 5 July 2024 Spoilers: In the film's climax, Sam plans to sacrifice herself so her friend Eric (Joseph Quinn) can make it to a getaway boat with her cat Frodo and survive. Benjamin Vanhoose, Peoplemag, 28 June 2024
Verb
The virtue of patience allowed some Panthers fans and employees to hang in for 30 years before this season’s Stanley Cup triumph, climaxed with Monday’s 2-1 Game 7 win against Edmonton. David J. Neal, Miami Herald, 25 June 2024 This would seem to be climax enough for one episode, but there are 15 minutes left! Chris Klimek, Vulture, 29 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for climax 

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Late Latin, from Greek klimax, literally, ladder, from klinein to lean

First Known Use

Noun

circa 1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1807, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of climax was circa 1538

Dictionary Entries Near climax

Cite this Entry

“Climax.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/climax. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

climax

1 of 2 noun
cli·​max ˈklī-ˌmaks How to pronounce climax (audio)
1
a
: the highest point
the storm had reached its climax
b
: the point of highest dramatic interest or a major turning point in the action (as of a play)
c
: orgasm
2
: a relatively stable ecological stage or community especially when it is the final one in a series of ecological stages or communities

climax

2 of 2 verb
: to come or bring to a climax
Etymology

Noun

from Latin climax "arrangement of words or phrases in increasing forcefulness," from Greek klimax "ladder," from klinein "to lean, recline" — related to climate, clinic

Medical Definition

climax

noun
cli·​max ˈklī-ˌmaks How to pronounce climax (audio)
1
: the highest or most intense point
2
: orgasm
3

More from Merriam-Webster on climax

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