cli·​max | \ ˈklī-ˌmaks How to pronounce climax (audio) \

Definition of climax

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a figure of speech in which a series of phrases or sentences is arranged in ascending order of rhetorical forcefulness
2a : 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 : menopause
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


climaxed; climaxing; climaxes

Definition of climax (Entry 2 of 2)

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.

Other Words from climax


climaxless adjective

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Honduras got its rain for the banana fields — the glorious climax to Hatfield’s 30-year career as a rainmaker. San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Jan. 2022 During the climax, the camera stares up at the Gotham Cathedral, which is 200-year-old skyscraper church or something. Darren Franich,, 12 Jan. 2022 The most ambitious ones incorporate the narrative tricks of Indian soap operas for emotional effect, and deploy the latest technology — steady cams, drones and lots of musical special effects — to create the climax of a techno concert. New York Times, 8 Jan. 2022 Bringing the climax of the season to the Rockefeller Center and showing the famous Christmas tree felt like the perfect venue for a showdown outside of the Bishops’ security firm Christmas party. Mónica Marie Zorrilla, Variety, 24 Dec. 2021 That piece of cake is really a piece of code that sends her into a very public climax, illustrated on screen with the franchise’s signature stream of neon-green binary exploding between her legs. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, 23 Dec. 2021 For Democrats, the political collision on Sunday marked a climax in a debate that has implications for their prospects in the 2022 midterm elections. The Washington Post, Arkansas Online, 20 Dec. 2021 Then comes the slow climax of kick iiii—a churn of shimmery, sometimes warm atmospheres—followed by a fragile comedown on kiCK iiiii. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 3 Dec. 2021 The auction also brings out an enigmatic figure in Lin Mi Sheng (Fan Bingbing), who appears to be one step ahead of the women until the explosive climax in a luxury hotel. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That would presumably climax with a 5000 and/or 10,000-meter push at the Olympic Track Trials. Amby Burfoot, Outside Online, 14 Dec. 2020 Much of what’s described seems to climax with personal achievement, rather than anything having to do with others. New York Times, 14 Dec. 2021 Lindsay-Hogg and his crew were on hand to make a documentary about the process, which was all supposed to climax with a TV special. oregonlive, 25 Nov. 2021 Refresh this page throughout the hour to get the latest updates, which will climax when the nominees for album, record, song and new artist are revealed. Chris Willman, Variety, 23 Nov. 2021 An hour ago, after thirty minutes of pumping and winding on the mattress, the two of us finally managed to climax. Bryan Washington, The New Yorker, 7 June 2021 According to evangelicals, the current age will climax with the restoration of Jews to Palestine, and the emergence of powerful empires in Rome, Russia, and Asia. Matthew Avery Sutton, The New Republic, 14 Jan. 2021 Tens of thousands saw the incredible Czech win the Olympic 5,000 meters, then the 10,000 meters and climax it all by capturing the marathon. Milt Marmor, Star Tribune, 2 Aug. 2020 The redefining of protests during the national anthem sets up a social, generational and political clash this fall that will climax with a November presidential election that’s largely a referendum on the leadership of President Donald Trump. Dallas News, 15 June 2020

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


circa 1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1807, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for climax

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for climax

Time Traveler

The first known use of climax was circa 1538

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Dictionary Entries Near climax



climax basket

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Statistics for climax

Last Updated

21 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Climax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for climax



English Language Learners Definition of climax

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the most exciting and important part of a story, play, or movie that occurs usually at or near the end
: the most interesting and exciting part of something : the high point
: the most intense point of sexual pleasure : orgasm



English Language Learners Definition of climax (Entry 2 of 2)

: to reach the most exciting or important part in something
: to occur at the end as the most exciting or important part of (something)
: to have an orgasm


cli·​max | \ ˈklī-ˌmaks How to pronounce climax (audio) \

Kids Definition of climax

: the most interesting, exciting, or important time or part of something a story's climax


cli·​max | \ ˈklī-ˌmaks How to pronounce climax (audio) \

Medical Definition of climax

1 : the highest or most intense point
2 : orgasm

More from Merriam-Webster on climax

Nglish: Translation of climax for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of climax for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about climax


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