Definition of climax in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈklīˌmaks/


1The most intense, exciting, or important point of something; a culmination or apex: the climax of her speech a thrilling climax to the game
More example sentences
  • He used the word ‘journey’ again and again especially as the speech reached its climax.
  • On this note, this year's Arab summit ritual reached its climax.
  • Glover also provides the eerie guitar noodling and intense emotional climaxes.
peak, pinnacle, height, high(est) point, top;
acme, zenith;
culmination, crowning point, crown, crest;
highlight, high spot, high-water mark
1.1An orgasm.
Example sentences
  • Ejaculation is normally the climax in a male orgasm.
  • Sexual climax or orgasm is the healthy, normal, inevitable, outcome of the three preceding stages.
  • Use this information as the basis for achieving a strong sexual climax and ejaculate.
1.2 Ecology The final stage in a succession in a given environment, at which a plant community reaches a state of equilibrium: [as modifier]: a mixed hardwood climax forest
More example sentences
  • Eventually, hardwood trees invade and replace the pines, forming the hardwood climax community.
  • He instructed Shenandoah officials to restore the Blue Ridge's climax community as it existed before humans impacted the environment.
  • Established climax pecan forests became the first commercial pecan production groves in the mid-1800s.
1.3 Rhetoric A sequence of propositions or ideas in order of increasing importance, force, or effectiveness of expression.
Example sentences
  • First-rate writers don't need to create plotty ‘suspense’ in order to achieve their moral climaxes.
  • The climax forces the audience to challenge their previous judgments and provides a short sharp twist in this story that captures the imagination.
  • Sudden lurches and climaxes and rolling tympani increase the tension.


[no object]
1Culminate in an exciting or impressive event; reach a climax: the day climaxed with a gala concert
More example sentences
  • The event climaxed with a band concert given by The Dragoon Guards, at a sunset ceremony in Imphal Barracks.
  • Their first year climaxed with the Kinshasa newspaper Elima naming the band the best orchestra, Wemba best singer, and their single, ‘Mere Superieure,’ best song.
  • The highlight of the concert was the Indian composition, ‘Stimulation’, a beautiful piece that climaxed with a deluge of percussion.
culminate, peak, reach a pinnacle, come to a crescendo, come to a head
1.1 [with object] Bring (something) to a climax: the sentencing climaxed a seven-month trial
More example sentences
  • But for a lot more others, the build-up to the red day begins this weekend with a movie before climaxing it next Tuesday with dinner.
  • For openers, the Farley Hill presentation climaxing the week-long festival was spread over two days.
  • It was a lovely affair, climaxing a series of dinners, receptions and gab-fests among old friends.
1.2Have an orgasm.
Example sentences
  • While ejaculation offered proof that a man had reached climax, a female orgasm was confirmed by physiological measurements such as heart rate and anal pressure.
  • Is it me he is thinking of when he climaxes, or them?
  • Sipski and Alexander reported that 11 of 25 women with all levels of spinal injury were able to climax.


Mid 16th century (in rhetoric): from late Latin, from Greek klimax 'ladder, climax'. The sense 'culmination' arose in the late 18th century.

  • The word was first used in rhetoric for a number of propositions set forth in a series, increasing in force or effectiveness of expression. It comes from Greek klimax ‘ladder, climax’. The sense ‘culmination’ arose in the late 18th century from popular misuse of the learned word.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cli·max

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