Definition of zenith
- at the zenith of his powers
- —John Buchan
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
at the zenith of her career as a dancer
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When you reach the zenith, you're at the top, the pinnacle, the summit, the peak. Zenith developed from Arabic terms meaning "the way over one's head," and then traveled through Old Spanish, Medieval Latin, and Middle French before arriving in English. As long ago as the 1300s, English speakers used zenith to name the highest point in the celestial heavens, directly overhead. By the 1600s, zenith was being used for other high points as well. The celestial term is often contrasted with nadir, or the point that is vertically downward from the observer (imagine a line going through the earth from the observer's feet and out the other side into the sky). Figuratively, nadir simply means "the lowest point."
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
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