Definition of culminate
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.>
: to bring to a head or to the highest point <The contract culminated weeks of negotiations.>
Examples of culminate in a sentence
A bitter feud culminated months of tension.
<culminated the school year with a trip to New York>
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."
Origin and Etymology of culminate
Medieval Latin culminatus, past participle of culminare, from Late Latin, to crown, from Latin culmin-, culmen top — more at hill
First Known Use: 1647
CULMINATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of culminate for English Language Learners
: to reach the end or the final result of something
: to be the end or final result of (something)
CULMINATE Defined for Kids
Definition of culminate for Students
: to reach the end or the final result of <Her campaign culminated with a victory.>
Seen and Heard
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