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

Legend’s portion builds off of Common’s, culminating in a poignant tearjerker. Marisa Polansky And Kristine Keller, Vogue, "A Helpful Guide to Nailing Your Oscars Acceptance Speech," 24 Feb. 2019 Health care systems still don’t do enough The stigma and misconceptions run deep, culminating in a health care system that’s ill-equipped to treat addiction. German Lopez, Vox, "The simple idea that could help end America’s opioid epidemic," 26 Dec. 2018 But here at home, breastfeeding has steadily become more accepted and accessible – culminating this year in the 49th and 50th states enacting laws to allow it in public. Rebecca Beitsch, The Christian Science Monitor, "All US states now allow breastfeeding in public," 13 July 2018 However, Tillman received more and more minutes in place of Ward late in the season, culminating in a career-best 12 rebounds in 22 minutes against Syracuse in the Spartans’ second-round NCAA tournament loss. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Can Michigan State's Xavier Tillman, Nick Ward stay on floor together?," 12 July 2018 But the party blew its chance at a comeback with a string of corruption scandals that culminated in Lopez Obrador's victory on Sunday. Fox News, "Mexico's ruling party seeks way forward after drubbing," 3 July 2018 But the party blew its chance at a comeback with a string of corruption scandals that culminated in Lopez Obrador’s victory on Sunday. Mark Stevenson, The Seattle Times, "Mexico’s ruling party seeks way forward after drubbing," 3 July 2018 But the party blew its chance at a comeback with a string of corruption scandals that culminated in Lopez Obrador’s victory on Sunday. Washington Post, "Mexico’s ruling party seeks way forward after drubbing," 3 July 2018 Advocates, led by the county’s chapter of the LGBT group PFLAG, short for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, hope to see that work culminate on the Columbia lakefront next June in the county’s first pride festival. Kate Magill, Howard County Times, "Howard's LGBTQ groups planning first Pride parade, community outreach," 20 June 2018

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

20 Mar 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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