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

What was once the pinnacle of New England prep (and later a flashy sequins-for-daytime vibe courtesy of former creative director Jenna Lyons) now looks relatively indistinguishable from other casual American brands such as the Gap. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "J.Crew launched its newest brand 16 days ago. Now it’s closing.," 30 Nov. 2018 As their swoops and calls faded behind us, the twin pinnacles of Skellig Michael loomed. Margot Dougherty, WSJ, "In Ireland, a Getaway Far, Far Away," 6 Nov. 2018 Fortunately, endeavoring engineers are busy exploring this area of development and one, who goes by Human Controller, has found the pinnacle of autonomous engineering: a Rubik's cube that solves itself. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Peak of Human Ingenuity Is a Rubik's Cube That Solves Itself," 25 Sep. 2018 But that's not the case for Crazy Rich Asians, which casts Asian-American characters as the ultimate aspiration, the pinnacle of *making it. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "How "Crazy Rich Asians" Is Making History as a Romantic Comedy," 9 Aug. 2018 The pinnacle—consciousness—is not broached until the last (and shortest) chapter. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Understanding the Brain is a catalog of all we don’t know about the brain," 10 Nov. 2018 For many of us, road trips across the U.S. were our first introduction to travel—for others who grew up abroad, the road trip was the pinnacle of American-ness. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Travelogue Podcast: Things You Should Never, Ever Do on a Road Trip," 3 Nov. 2018 This is the pinnacle of the X-Series so far, improving upon the X-T2 with more advanced autofocus, blazing-fast continuous shooting, and video output that firmly puts it in the same conversation as Sony and Panasonic. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Fujifilm X-T3 review: the do-everything camera," 24 Oct. 2018 The Kardashians’ appearances are the pinnacle of that scrutiny. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Kardashian’s sisters said she looked anorexic. She took it as a compliment.," 3 Aug. 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

3 Dec 2018

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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 \

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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