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.

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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


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.


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

Their encounter reads not as a climax, long in the making, but rather as camp. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Big Little Lies Forgot the Thing That Made It Great," 16 July 2019 The two finally met in LA to film the climax, which finds Tews' Captain Seafield finally coming face to face with a creature whose appearance has only been teased up to that point. John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press, "Jokey 'Lake Michigan Monster' to screen at Hamtramck's Vidlings & Tapeheads Film Festival," 27 June 2019 The climax, of course, was Pete Rose’s bone-crunching collision with Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse that handed the National League a dramatic, 5-4, 12-inning win over the American League in the 41st annual meeting. Mark Schmetzer,, "Top Cincinnati Reds games: No. 33 – Pete Rose, NL win 1970 MLB All-Star Game at Riverfront," 27 June 2019 Last month’s Batman #75 kicked off the epic story arc that’s set to be the climax of King’s incredible three-year run with the Dark Knight. Christian Holub,, "5 comics to read this August: Epic battles on fallen worlds," 2 Aug. 2019 And her face at the climax, the play of emotions as the plot machinery reaches its inevitable terminus, rivals the Satanists’ glorying at the infernal infant at the end of Rosemary’s Baby as the most sinister possible expression of delight. Ross Douthat, National Review, "Midsommar Casts a Transfixing Scandinavian Spell," 25 July 2019 The save in Game 7 was the dramatic climax of a mind-boggling postseason, when Bumgarner came as close as any player can to single-handedly winning a World Series. Ann Killion,, "Madison Bumgarner has been the Giants’ sure thing. Until now," 22 July 2019 It’s packed with people marveling, maybe more than anything else, at the climax: Swift and Perry, dressed respectively as french fries and a hamburger, hugging. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Taylor Swift Seems to Think Homophobes Are ‘Throwing Shade’," 17 June 2019 The film’s first act reaches its climax at the 1952 International Festival of Youth in East Berlin, an extravaganza showcase for the wonders of Communism, to which Mazurek has been invited. Giles Harvey, Harper's magazine, "Home Truths," 10 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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,, "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 The festivities climaxed after Russia defeated Spain on July 1st to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time since 1970. The Economist, "Russia shows its best side at the World Cup," 4 July 2018 De Carvalho, who was elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2017, has been blamed for the poisonous relationship with players which climaxed in an assault by masked and armed fans at the training ground in mid-May. Afp,, "Sporting president de Carvalho to quit after fan vote," 24 June 2018 What followed was a three-year fight between the president and Congress, one that climaxed with Johnson’s impeachment and his replacement in the next election by Ulysses S. Grant. Kevin Baker, The New Republic, "Why America needs truth and reconciliation after Trump," 17 May 2018 But nothing has had any impact — not even the harsh light cast on the spending by the federal corruption investigation of Green that climaxed in his recent trial on bribery charges. Jeremy Roebuck,, "Sheriff sale ads: A bonanza for the politically connected in Philly," 27 Apr. 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


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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Statistics for climax

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for climax

The first known use of climax was circa 1538

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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



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on climax

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with climax

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for climax

Spanish Central: Translation of climax

Nglish: Translation of climax for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on climax

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recurring in steady succession

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