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 Their testimony marks the pinnacle of a yearlong investigation by a House Judiciary subcommittee into antitrust practices before the panel recommends a series of reforms. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Tim Cook says Apple ‘OK’ with success of Chinese company blacklisted as national security threat," 29 July 2020 If Black Panther represents the pinnacle of mainstream achievement for black filmmakers in Hollywood (thus far), Stefon Bristol's See You Yesterday might represent the promise offered by streaming services in search of innovative new content. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Skip The Help. Celebrate Juneteenth by watching a few of these 25 films.," 19 June 2020 The trail is now partially covered in snow and ice, where traction devices are necessary to reach the top and its plug-dome pinnacle. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "The case for visiting Lassen, California’s first national park to fully reopen during coronavirus," 24 June 2020 So there is a pressure weighing on Kai that doesn’t just come from her mother, but from a much larger system of judgement which dictates that Miss Juneteenth is the pinnacle of what a young black woman should want to be. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "In Miss Juneteenth, a Mother’s Dream Deferred," 19 June 2020 This tragedy by William Shakespeare is the story of a Venetian soldier and ensign who was passed over for promotion by Othello, a Moorish nobleman who has reached the pinnacle of his career. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's 'virtual' shows this week: 'Othello,' Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto & more," 2 July 2019 Those at the pinnacle of Hong Kong’s financial world say that its role in the global system is not threatened by social unrest and geopolitics. The Economist, "Hong Kong’s uncertain future Can Hong Kong remain a global financial centre?," 4 June 2020 Turtle Beach has a well deserved reputation as being the pinnacle for gaming audio. Popular Science, "The best gaming headphones for an immersive experience," 4 June 2020 But Crenn overcame numerous obstacles to reach this pinnacle in her career, not least of which included surviving and overcoming the overwhelming misogyny in the culinary world. Rachel King, Fortune, "5 new books to read in June," 1 June 2020 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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Time Traveler for pinnacle

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

4 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pinnacle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pinnacle. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for pinnacle

pinnacle

noun
How to pronounce pinnacle (audio)

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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