climax

noun
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
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 The Topeka School builds anticipation to this incident, which is noteworthy insofar as Lerner’s previous novels show no real interest in anything like suspense or climax. Christine Smallwood, Harper's magazine, "Novel, Essay, Poem," 16 Sep. 2019 So Boris' heroic return served as a screen climax while emphasizing the impact Boris had on Theo. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'The Goldfinch': How is the movie different from Donna Tartt's novel? (Spoilers!)," 13 Sep. 2019 Callas’ account conjured the soaring climaxes one expects of this work, but also extraordinary fragility in certain sections and phrases that soared up to the stratosphere of her instrument. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Opera reviews: Maria Callas as hologram; Lyric Opera stars at Millennium Park," 8 Sep. 2019 Here Petrenko’s tool was power, and climaxes were ear-shattering. Los Angeles Times, "Review: A shy Siberian conductor in Berlin may be just what the music world needs," 28 Aug. 2019 Inside the game’s story universe—the stories told on the website and over the course of the releases of new sets of cards—multiple strands of narrative came to an intertwined climax earlier this year. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "The Story Universe of Magic: The Gathering Is Expanding," 21 July 2019 Ryan said Sally should act out a climax in a public place. cleveland.com, "30 years ago, one scene from ‘When Harry Met Sally’ changed how we talk about sex," 12 July 2019 Ryan said Sally should act out a climax in a public place. Lisa Bonos, Houston Chronicle, "Yes! Yes! Yes! ‘When Harry Met Sally’ changed how we talk about sex," 12 July 2019 The climax of the Gallic Wars came in 52 B.C. when the Romans won the Battle of Alesia, defeating a confederation of tribes led by Gallic chief Vercingetorix. Andrea Frediani, National Geographic, "Julius Caesar came. He saw. He conquered. Here's how Rome celebrated.," 10 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The plot climaxes with Posh taking the wheel of their tour bus in her strappy stilettos, and saving the day. New York Times, "‘Spice World’ & Me," 23 Aug. 2019 Such stories invariably climax with a great victory or a crushing defeat, a life-changing play right at the buzzer. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Review: ‘The Great Leap’ at Steppenwolf Theatre is about basketball in China, even as tanks roll across Tiananmen Square," 16 Sep. 2019 That score is down from 24.6 on August 5, the highest value of the rating since December 2018, when stocks were thrashing and climaxed in the big Christmas Eve tumble. Erik Sherman, Fortune, "Why Volatility is Starting to Plague Many Asset Classes, Not Just Stocks," 20 Aug. 2019 The event climaxed an exciting day that began with Armstrong and Aldrin on the lunar surface and later launching their Moonship to rendezvous and dock with Collins in the command ship. Houston Chronicle, "Space Officials Looking to Future As Moon Craft Rockets for Home," 21 July 2019 Given the excitement Rachmaninoff generates, the work could easily kick off its traces, but Parameswaran kept firm control, allowing the music’s climaxes to blaze forth without sacrificing dynamic or dramatic balance. cleveland.com, "Cleveland Orchestra wraps classical season in challenging, satisfying manner," 20 Aug. 2019 The most fascinating offseason in NBA history climaxed with news that Kawhi Leonard, whose silence had left millions frantically refreshing Twitter, will sign with the Clippers. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: United States women’s national team has already won in advance of Sunday’s World Cup championship match," 7 July 2019 Investigators said the woman unleashed a string of racially insulting phone calls that climaxed with a threat against employees of the Hebrew Free Loan of Metropolitan Detroit. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Woman charged with making ethnic threats to black workers at Jewish loan office," 2 July 2019 Outlaw King climaxes with the battle of Loudoun Hill, which the Scots won by using long spears to disable the fearsome English cavalry. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "'Outlaw King' vs. 'Braveheart': Which Movie Gets Scotland Right?," 13 Nov. 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 and Verb

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

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Statistics for climax

Last Updated

1 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for climax

The first known use of climax was circa 1538

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More Definitions for climax

climax

noun
How to pronounce climax (audio)

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 How to pronounce climax (audio) \

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 How to pronounce climax (audio) \

Medical Definition of climax

1 : the highest or most intense point
2 : orgasm

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Comments on climax

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