Word of the Day : December 17, 2013


noun PIN-ih-kul


1 : an upright architectural formation generally ending in a small spire

2 : a structure or formation suggesting a pinnacle; specifically : a lofty peak

3 : the highest point of development or achievement : acme

Did You Know?

"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.


Winning the national championship was the pinnacle of his career.

"As the 792-foot-tall skyscraper was bathed in electric light, the news was transmitted from its pinnacle by Marconi wireless to a receiver on the Eiffel Tower." - From P.D. Smith's 2012 book City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "pinnacle" refers to short, thick, diagonally cut tubular pasta? The answer is …


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