Definition of zenith in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈzēnəTH/


[in singular]
1The highest point reached by a celestial or other object: the sun was well past the zenith the missile reached its zenith and fell
More example sentences
  • The whole affair was a very easygoing business; people kept eating and drinking, and, when the sun reached the zenith, they fell into a snooze where they sat.
  • The two-hour delay in starting that morning began to take on increasing significance as the sun reached its zenith without disclosing Petersburg on the horizon.
  • Once the sun reached its zenith, it was too hot to even move, let alone travel.
1.1The point in the sky or celestial sphere directly above an observer. The opposite of nadir.
Example sentences
  • These objects reversed direction several times but maintained position in the sky more or less at the zenith.
  • The center of the map is the zenith, the point in the sky directly overhead.
  • The method needs data collected from two satellites, one close to zenith and the other in the direction of horizon.
1.2The time at which something is most powerful or successful: under Justinian, the Byzantine Empire reached its zenith of influence
More example sentences
  • The conflict's roots date back to the zenith of the British raj.
  • You realize that this moment represents the zenith of your success.
  • They were also sceptical about the World Council of Churches, then at its zenith of influence, and they began to preach God's free grace from their pulpits.
highest point, high point, crowning point, height, top, acme, peak, pinnacle, apex, apogee, crown, crest, summit, climax, culmination, prime, meridian



Pronunciation: /ˈzēniTH(ə)l/


Late Middle English: from Old French or medieval Latin cenit, based on Arabic samt (ar-ra's) 'path (over the head)'.

  • Like its opposite, nadir (Late Middle English), zenith was originally an astronomical term deriving from Arabic, in this case from samt ar-ra's, ‘path over the head’. In astronomy the zenith is the point in the sky immediately above the observer, and also the highest point reached by a particular celestial object, when it is at its zenith. The modern general sense of this developed from the astronomical use in the early 17th century. The nadir is the point in the sky immediately below the observer, and comes from Arabic nazīr, meaning ‘opposite [to the zenith]’. Its general sense, ‘the lowest or most unsuccessful point’, also developed in the early 17th century.

Words that rhyme with zenith


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ze·nith

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