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


pinnacled; pinnacling\ ˈpi-​ni-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce pinnacle (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


P pinnacle 1

In the meaning defined above

Choose the Right Synonym for pinnacle


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

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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 For several years, climbers have argued about whether the traditional turnaround point on Manaslu was the pinnacle, or whether its true summit was situated on a ridge line several meters away. Dawan Rai, Outside Online, 19 Sep. 2022 Such modesty did not keep him from rising to the pinnacle of his profession., 11 Sep. 2022 Billboard Christian Airplay hits and has had eight albums lift to the pinnacle of Billboard‘s Top Christian Albums chart. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 8 Sep. 2022 For the third time since March, a television series will tackle Jerry Buss’ purchase of the Lakers, the injection of celebrity culture into sports and the Lakers’ return to the pinnacle of the NBA. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 15 Aug. 2022 Since 2019, no one had found a way to unseat a team that made its way to the pinnacle, until Sunday, when the Colorado Avalanche discovered the right combination of skill, speed and determination needed to knock out the champ. New York Times, 26 June 2022 After all, the former Cardinal has taken a long and winding road to the pinnacle of NBA glory. Jeremiah Holloway, The Courier-Journal, 17 June 2022 The fantastical festivities, open to the public, were the pinnacle of Vogue World, a fashion show and celebration for the magazine’s 130th birthday. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 13 Sep. 2022 Reading someone’s diary might just be the pinnacle of rudeness. Sarah Schutte, National Review, 21 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One father, two sons, all coaching their teams to pinnacle moments of their seasons. Matt Goul, cleveland, 19 Mar. 2021 At the start of 2015, Hollar's weight pinnacled at 678. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, 4 Feb. 2018 See More

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.

First Known Use of pinnacle


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pinnacle


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

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

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Pinnacles National Monument

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Last Updated

4 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pinnacle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for pinnacle


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

More from Merriam-Webster on pinnacle

Nglish: Translation of pinnacle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pinnacle for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pinnacle


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