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

Keep scrolling for more

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

And last weekend would have been the pinnacle of the season, the annual meeting of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club and its chapters across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine in the White Mountains of Gorham, N.H. Deanna Pan, BostonGlobe.com, "After a deadly crash, Jarheads rely on their brotherhood to confront tragedy," 26 June 2019 With its copper dome, pinnacles, modern statues, murals, and colorful interior, the cathedral serves not just as a tourist attraction but one of the most important places of worship in the entire Horn of Africa nation. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "The British suffragette who was crowned an “honorary” Ethiopian," 25 June 2019 The first scenes start just as his life did, born on a train in rural Russia and then catapulted to the pinnacle of the ballet world, dancing for the world famous Kirov (now Mariinsky) and the Bolshoi ballets during the 1950s. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "Anna Wintour, Patti Smith, and Sarah Jessica Parker Attend a Screening for Ralph Fiennes’s White Crow," 24 Apr. 2019 Johnny & Associates has dominated the charts in Japan for decades since its founding more than 50 years ago, with the pinnacle of its success arriving with the group SMAP, which had 22 consecutive No. Rob Schwartz, Billboard, "Japanese Talent Agency Johnny & Associates to Launch YouTube Channel," 5 Mar. 2018 The Olympics are essentially the pinnacle of this sport. Andrew Turner, latimes.com, "Orange Coast College crew wins two titles in ACRA national championships," 5 June 2019 Held in March each year, Bal de la Rose is the pinnacle of the Monegasque social calendar. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "When Royalty Mingled With an Italian Elvis: Inside Bal de la Rose, Monaco’s Most Glamorous Night," 4 Apr. 2019 For over a decade, West has been at the pinnacle of creativity and has constantly dared to be great. Andreas Hale, Billboard, "5 Things We Learned on First Listen to Kanye West's 'Ye' Album," 1 June 2018 So many hugs, so much acknowledgment of the long climb from the Bronx to the pinnacle of American fashion. Christina Binkley, WSJ, "Ralph Lauren Wants People to Feel Good About Their Country," 7 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pinnacle

Listen to Our Podcast about pinnacle

Statistics for pinnacle

Last Updated

2 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pinnacle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pinnacle

What made you want to look up pinnacle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a small bunch of flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!