acme

noun

ac·​me ˈak-mē How to pronounce acme (audio)
: the highest point or stage
the acme of his fame
also : something or someone that represents perfection of the thing expressed
a system that is the acme of efficiency

Did you know?

In Greek, acme meant a mountain peak, but in English we hardly ever use it in the physical sense. Instead we speak of someone's new job as the acme of her career, or of a certain leap as the acme of classical dance technique. In old Road Runner cartoons, the Acme Company is the provider of every ingenious device imaginable. But the word can't always be taken quite literally as a brand or company name; it's possible, for instance, that something called the Acme Bar & Grill may not be the absolutely highest and best example of a bar and grill. And don't confuse acme with acne, the skin disorder—even though both actually come from the same word.

Choose the Right Synonym for acme

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

Example Sentences

His fame was at its acme. the acme of their basketball season was their hard-won victory over last year's state champs
Recent Examples on the Web But Bach is unique, being both a foundation and an acme. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 20 Dec. 2021 The acme of the NFT market — or the height of its delirium, depending on your point of view — is probably Beeple. New York Times, 12 May 2021 The Nobel Prizes for Physics, Chemistry and Medicine are the acme of scientific achievement -- honoring great minds and life-changing discoveries. Katie Hunt, CNN, 2 Oct. 2020 Another indication of Schwartz’s particular views on photography is that the entire show focuses on work in black-and-white, which for him was the acme of the medium. Steven Litt, cleveland, 9 Feb. 2020 But the real emotional acme of today’s Small Group occurs when Andrew takes the floor. Barrett Swanson, Harper's magazine, 28 Oct. 2019 Seizing the castle The Akwamu Empire (1600-1730), at its acme, controlled a territory extending 200 miles along the coast and 100 miles into the interior, with Nyanaose as its capital. Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann, Quartz Africa, 13 July 2019 For real foodies, though, a robot that can turn its hand to almost anything culinary would be the acme of automation. The Economist, 12 July 2018 In practice, social democracy has probably reached its acme in the Nordic countries, where the left has ruled governments for most of last half-century. John B. Judis, New Republic, 24 Aug. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acme.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Greek akmḗ "point, highest point, culmination," from ak- (going back to Indo-European *h2eḱ- "pointed") + -mē, noun suffix — more at edge entry 1

First Known Use

1560, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of acme was in 1560

Dictionary Entries Near acme

Cite this Entry

“Acme.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acme. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

acme

noun

ac·​me ˈak-mē How to pronounce acme (audio)
: the highest point : peak
the acme of perfection

Medical Definition

acme

noun

ac·​me ˈak-mē How to pronounce acme (audio)
: the highest or most critical point or stage (as of growth or development)

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