pinnacle

noun
pin·na·cle | \ ˈpi-ni-kəl \

Definition of pinnacle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an upright architectural member generally ending in a small spire and used especially in Gothic construction to give weight especially to a buttress

2 : a structure or formation suggesting a pinnacle specifically : a lofty peak

3 : the highest point of development or achievement : acme

pinnacle

verb
pinnacled; pinnacling\ˈpi-ni-k(ə-)liŋ \

Definition of pinnacle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to surmount with a pinnacle

2 : to raise or rear on a pinnacle

Illustration of pinnacle

Illustration of pinnacle

Noun

P pinnacle 1

In the meaning defined above

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Choose the Right Synonym for pinnacle

Noun

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

Did You Know?

Noun

Pinnacle is one of several words that aspire to both literal and figurative heights. Others include summit, peak, climax, apex, acme, and culmination. All of these can refer to the highest point of a mountain or structure, or the highest point attained or attainable over a person's lifetime, career, etc. When referring to part of a building, pinnacle describes a projection on top of a tower (as on a Gothic cathedral). The word derives via Anglo-French from Late Latin pinnaculum, meaning "small wing," a diminutive of pinna, meaning "wing or battlement." When used figuratively, pinnacle sometimes implies a dizzying and insecure height, such as that brought on by unexpected fame.

Examples of pinnacle in a Sentence

Noun

a singer who has reached the pinnacle of success

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Massive galaxies are considered to be at the pinnacle of galaxy formation because their growth relies on the destruction of smaller galaxies. Smithsonian, "Andean Solstice Celebrations Capture the Wondrous Churn of Spacetime," 22 June 2018 A thousand beautiful green pinnacles, over there on the far shore. Seth Kantner, Anchorage Daily News, "We’re failing in our relationship with nature – and with each other," 9 June 2018 Harvard University, on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, represents the pinnacle of higher education. Leslie Sanchez, CBS News, "America's elite colleges struggle to integrate low-income students," 23 May 2018 In this way, Miquela represents perhaps the pinnacle of unrealistic beauty standards. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "Body Con Job," 11 May 2018 The pinnacle of America's Pastime, the single best, most iconic rivalry that sports in the United States has, is exporting itself to London for two games in 2019. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "After a 'slap in the face' in Chicago, the Marlins now face a tough test at home," 10 May 2018 Baseball in the United States is the pinnacle of the sport. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Introducing Kazuhisa Makita, the Padres' curious new submariner," 16 Feb. 2018 Finally the pinnacle, the sacred heart of Angkor Wat, a blend of spirituality and symmetry so perfect that few moments will measure up. Antonia Neubauer, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Asia," 5 Oct. 2016 While that's happening, tall and thing icebergs called pinnacle bergs calve off and flip upside down. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "A Stunning Video of a Greenland Iceberg Collapse," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At the start of 2015, Hollar's weight pinnacled at 678. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "Surgery helped him lose almost 500 pounds. Now insurance won't help remove excess skin.," 4 Feb. 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pinnacle

Noun

Middle English pinacle, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin pinnaculum small wing, gable, from Latin pinna wing, battlement

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Statistics for pinnacle

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pinnacle

The first known use of pinnacle was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pinnacle

pinnacle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pinnacle

: a high mountain top

: the best or most important part of something : the point of greatest success or achievement

: a tower on the roof of a building that comes to a narrow point at the top

pinnacle

noun
pin·na·cle | \ ˈpi-nə-kəl \

Kids Definition of pinnacle

1 : the peak of a mountain

2 : the highest point of development or achievement Winning the award was the pinnacle of her career.

3 : a slender tower generally coming to a narrow point at the top

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