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

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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 At the pinnacle of lunar exploration in the late 1960s and early 1970s – the only time humankind has ever set foot on Earth’s satellite – the moon was largely a symbol of geopolitical power. Jason Thomson, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 July 2021 American Prodigal arrived at the pinnacle in October 2016 and Neon Steeple started atop the tally in June 2014. Jim Asker, Billboard, 24 June 2021 Closed since 2005, La Samaritaine—overlooking the Seine river—has, after 16 long years, finally been transformed into a cosmopolitan 215,000 square foot retail space that will sit at the pinnacle of global travel shopping venues. Kevin Rozario, Forbes, 22 June 2021 But diet culture, which places thinness at the pinnacle of achievement, health, morality and more, takes this biological imperative and twists it backwards. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, 10 June 2021 The late 1940s saw Streat at the pinnacle of her success -- and in the midst of change. oregonlive, 17 May 2021 Killing the jail tax was probably the pinnacle for the group. Jason Williams, The Enquirer, 2 July 2021 For those whose travel aspirations involve white-sand beaches stretching as far as the eye can see, Turks and Caicos is the pinnacle of Caribbean dream destinations. Maya Kachroo-levine, Travel + Leisure, 1 July 2021 For most of those who do, just being there is the pinnacle of their careers. Nicola Williams, National Review, 24 June 2021 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

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


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

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pinnacle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for pinnacle



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


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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