pinnacle

noun
pin·​na·​cle | \ ˈpi-ni-kəl How to pronounce pinnacle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce pinnacling (audio) \

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

The timing is right to move on and the program is positioned to remain at the pinnacle of women's soccer. Anne M. Peterson, baltimoresun.com, "U.S. women’s soccer coach Jill Ellis stepping down after two World Cup titles," 31 July 2019 Though not officially retired despite a recent heart attack, Casillas is taking up a backroom role at Porto after an incredible 20 years at the pinnacle of football. SI.com, "Carlo Ancelotti: The Diva Whisperer's All-Time Best XI," 31 July 2019 Li was a cautious, uninspiring figure but a keen political infighter who spent two decades at the pinnacle of power before retiring in 2002. Washington Post, "Li Peng, former hard-line Chinese premier, dies at 91," 23 July 2019 The award placed her at the pinnacle of today’s newest Sailors. Alan Nunn, Houston Chronicle, "IN THE MILITARY: Houston sailor earns Military Excellence Award at Recruit Training Command," 18 July 2019 DiCaprio's ascent to the pinnacle of actors began well before Romeo + Juliet. Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter, ""His Brand Is Excellence": How Leonardo DiCaprio Became Hollywood's Last Movie Star," 22 July 2019 These 11 new inductees have reached the pinnacle in seven different sports. Iliana Limón Romero, orlandosentinel.com, "Magic legends Pat Williams and Nick Anderson headline star-studded Florida Sports Hall of Fame class," 19 July 2019 Darroch is Sir Kim, having been knighted in 2008 for his service to country, and is admired by many for his rise from a humble upbringing in housing projects to the pinnacle of his profession. Laura King, latimes.com, "Britain’s contest for prime minister roiled by Trump’s bare-knuckled attack on envoy to Washington," 9 July 2019 Mount Marathon was the pinnacle, so far, of his recovery. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Oregon runner Max King gains royalty status with Mount Marathon men’s victory," 5 July 2019

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

13 Aug 2019

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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 How to pronounce pinnacle (audio) \

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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