climax

noun
cli·​max | \ˈklī-ˌmaks \

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

climax

verb
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.

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Other Words from climax

Noun

climaxless adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for climax

Noun

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

During the climax of the play, Monroe moves to the center of the performance space and uses a sledgehammer to pound on a massive tractor tire laid on its side, generating a surprisingly deep throbbing sound. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Music / Post No Bills / Theater / Arts Facility Theatre transforms The Little Match Girl Passion from a vocal piece into a meticulously pitched spectacle," 19 Apr. 2018 That final scene is surprisingly restrained, given the explosive climaxes of the two prior seasons. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Preacher ends third season with a pop, not a bang," 28 Aug. 2018 That changed when guilty verdicts came back Tuesday afternoon on eight of the counts against him, the climax of four days of deliberations in his four-week trial in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Chad Day, The Seattle Times, "Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty on 8 charges," 21 Aug. 2018 That superficial calm is gradually chipped away over the course of the day, and by nightfall chaos reigns—case in point, the exhilarating and deranged climax of last week’s episode. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sharp Objects Episode 5: Adora Is Officially the Worst Mother Ever," 6 Aug. 2018 The climax of this drama could have Comcast walk away with Sky while Disney gets the rest of Fox. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Disney and Comcast Raise the Stakes in the Battle for Fox," 11 July 2018 Per The Verge's review of the movie, the climax of the film results in, well, quite a few deaths. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Meet Assassination Nation, The Satirical Feminist Answer To The Purge," 27 June 2018 The protests in Gaza, ruled by the militant group Hamas, were intended to mark the climax of a weeks-long bid to protest the 70th anniversary of Israel's creation and the mass Palestinian displacement that accompanied it. Laura King, latimes.com, "Celebration in Jerusalem as U.S. moves embassy, bloodshed in Gaza as dozens of Palestinians killed," 14 May 2018 The one miscalculation occurred following the climax of the opening, where the loud playing became a wall of sound. Christian Hertzog, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego Symphony celebrates Leonard Bernstein's centennial with a lovely 'Serenade'," 5 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The battle climaxed when Mr. Kleinfeld lost his job after sending a letter that seemed threatening to the hedge fund’s founder, Paul Singer, and Elliott ultimately received a few board seats in a settlement. Cara Lombardo, WSJ, "Elliott Management Goes on Charm Offensive," 8 Oct. 2018 Rival factions in the communist party exploited the protests in their pursuit of party control, with the crisis climaxing in the purge of Jews from the party and jobs. Washington Post, "Poland remembers 1968 student protests, anti-Semitic purge," 8 Mar. 2018 The performance climaxes, then slinks on, crests again and continues. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "Review: Mummenschanz Offers Wonder, and a Grumpy Trash Bag," 10 July 2018 Sunday night will climax with sets from Chaka Khan and Lauryn Hill. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "15 Pop Music Festivals to Catch This Summer," 17 May 2018 The book recounts the glorious career of Greg LeMond, probably the greatest American cyclist of the modern era, climaxing with his comeback from near death and miraculous victory at the 1989 Tour de France. Daniel De Vise, Chicago Reader, "How two Belgian boys became the youngest kids to bike across the U.S.—in 1935," 21 June 2018 Photo: Kathy Willens/Associated Press There will be heroes and villains, upsets and predictable routs, climaxing at the final at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on the third Sunday in July. Jason Gay, WSJ, "A World Cup With It All, Just Not U.S.," 12 June 2018 Numerous complications, misunderstandings and threats arise, climaxing with the arrival of Lu's father (Michael Alston Baley), who looks like a gigantic shark dressed for a stroll through Belle Époque Paris. Charles Solomon, latimes.com, "Japanese animation 'Lu Over the Wall' gives mermaid tale new life," 10 May 2018 The series, which will climax with a decisive Game 7 on Sunday, has generated the highest ratings for an NBA Eastern Conference semifinal since 2014, including a Wednesday game that drew 7.35 million viewers. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "NFL vs. NBA: Which Will Be America’s Biggest Sport 10 Years From Now?," 26 May 2018

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

Noun

circa 1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1807, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for climax

Noun

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

Verb

see climax entry 1

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Statistics for climax

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for climax

The first known use of climax was circa 1538

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More Definitions for climax

climax

noun

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

climax

verb

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

climax

noun
cli·​max | \ˈklī-ˌmaks \

Kids Definition of climax

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

climax

noun
cli·​max | \ˈklī-ˌmaks \

Medical Definition of climax 

1 : the highest or most intense point

2 : orgasm

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Comments on climax

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