culminate

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verb cul·mi·nate \ˈkəl-mə-ˌnāt\

Definition of culminate

culminated

;

culminating

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 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

  3. 2a :  to rise to or form a summit … enormous waves culminated and fell with the report of thunder. — Frederick Marryatb :  to reach the highest or a climactic or decisive point Her long acting career culminated when she won the Oscar.

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

culminate was our Word of the Day on 06/29/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of culminate in a Sentence

  1. A bitter feud culminated months of tension.

  2. culminated the school year with a trip to New York

Recent Examples of culminate from the Web

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.

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


CULMINATE Defined for English Language Learners

culminate

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verb

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

culminate

play
verb cul·mi·nate \ˈkəl-mə-ˌnāt\

Definition of culminate for Students

culminated

;

culminating

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



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