culminate

verb
cul·​mi·​nate | \ ˈkəl-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce culminate (audio) \
culminated; culminating

Definition of culminate

intransitive verb

1 of a celestial body : to reach its highest altitude During the summer solstice, the sun culminates over the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere. also : to be directly overhead
2a : to rise to or form a summit … enormous waves culminated and fell with the report of thunder.— Frederick Marryat
b : to reach the highest or a climactic or decisive point Her long acting career culminated when she won the Oscar.

transitive verb

: to bring to a head or to the highest point The contract culminated weeks of negotiations.

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Synonyms for culminate

Synonyms

cap (off), climax, crown

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Did You Know?

Culminate was first used in English in the 17th century, in the field of astronomy. When a star or other heavenly body culminates, it reaches the point at which it is highest above the horizon from the vantage point of an observer on the ground. The word derives from the past participle of the Medieval Latin verb culminare, meaning "to crown," and ultimately from the Latin noun culmen, meaning "top." As something culminates it rises toward a peak. These days the word is most familiar to English speakers in its figurative usage, meaning "to reach a climactic or decisive point."

Examples of culminate in a Sentence

A bitter feud culminated months of tension. culminated the school year with a trip to New York

Recent Examples on the Web

The last week or so, ever since the Mets got Marcus Stroman from Toronto, has been a barrel of monkeys, culminating with the Astros taking a big step forward in their quest for world domination, by acquiring Zack Greinke. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: Is there anything in sports like Major League Baseball's trade deadline?," 1 Aug. 2019 The approval of a new village-wide bike plan is just the first of several steps officials hope will culminate with River Forest being honored as a bike-friendly community. Steve Schering, chicagotribune.com, "River Forest approves village-wide bicycle plan; next steps are to fund and implement it," 28 July 2019 In 1992, the government dropped its constitutional references to atheism, and a gradual thaw in church-state relations began, culminating with the papal visit on Jan. 21-25, 1998, and government acceptance of some outdoor religious events. Peter Orsi, BostonGlobe.com, "Cardinal Ortega, former archbishop of Havana, at 82," 27 July 2019 In 1992, the government dropped its constitutional references to atheism, and a gradual thaw in church-state relations began, culminating with the papal visit on Jan. 21-25, 1998, and government acceptance of some outdoor religious events. Andrea Rodriguez And Peter Orsi, Washington Post, "Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Catholic cardinal in Cuba, dies at 82," 26 July 2019 For nearly seven hours, Puerto Ricans had gathered to protest their embattled governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló, in hopes that days of demonstrations and political unrest would culminate with his resignation. New York Times, "‘We Just Changed History’: Cheers and Tears in San Juan," 25 July 2019 Roger and Mirka met in 2000 While competing for Switzerland in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Roger told CNN’s Christina MacFarlane that the trip culminated with a life-defining kiss. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Roger Federer's Wife Mirka Wanted Them to Have Kids Early for a Special Reason," 10 July 2019 George Will, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist: The painfully revealing first phase of the Democratic presidential sweepstakes culminated with two remarkably efficient debates. oregonlive.com, "Political tastemakers try to warn Democratic voters: Don’t go too far left if you want to beat Donald Trump," 17 July 2019 Franks won over teammates with his work ethic, talent and production, culminating with the 2018 Gators’ season-ending four-game win streak. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "UF QB Feleipe Franks calm, comfortable, confident at SEC Media Days," 15 July 2019

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

1647, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for culminate

Medieval Latin culminatus, past participle of culminare, from Late Latin, to crown, from Latin culmin-, culmen top — more at hill

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Dictionary Entries near culminate

culmi-

Culmide

culminant

culminate

culmination

culotte

culpa

Statistics for culminate

Last Updated

7 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for culminate

The first known use of culminate was in 1647

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More Definitions for culminate

culminate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of culminate

: to reach the end or the final result of something
somewhat formal : to be the end or final result of (something)

culminate

verb
cul·​mi·​nate | \ ˈkəl-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce culminate (audio) \
culminated; culminating

Kids Definition of culminate

: to reach the end or the final result of Her campaign culminated with a victory.

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Comments on culminate

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