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[klahy-mak-ter-ik, klahy-mak-ter-ik] /klaɪˈmæk tər ɪk, ˌklaɪ mækˈtɛr ɪk/
Physiology. a period of decrease of reproductive capacity in men and women, culminating, in women, in the menopause.
any critical period.
a year in which important changes in health, fortune, etc., are held by some theories to occur, as one's sixty-third year (grand climacteric)
the period of maximum respiration in a fruit, during which it becomes fully ripened.
Also, climacterical
[klahy-mak-ter-i-kuh l] /ˌklaɪ mækˈtɛr ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA)
. critical; crucial.
Origin of climacteric
1595-1605; < Latin clīmactēricus < Greek klīmaktērikós (klīmaktḗr rung of a ladder, critical point in life, equivalent to klīmak-, stem of klîmax (see climax) + -tēr noun suffix) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
climacterically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for climacteric
Historical Examples
  • The age at which menstruation ceases is called the menopause or climacteric.


    William J. Robinson
  • What is the climacteric period, or the change of life in a woman?

  • If he was right in fixing his climacteric at sixteen he might well have been dead.

    The Tower of Oblivion Oliver Onions
  • The ensuing duet is intense and full of climacteric effects.

    Stars of the Opera Mabel Wagnalls
  • All that he did know was that a climacteric in his life had been attained.

    Martin Eden Jack London
  • That their overthrow may be the more impressive and climacteric.

    New Tabernacle Sermons Thomas De Witt Talmage
  • Hysteria is a disease of youth, usually ceasing at the climacteric.

  • When this period is about to expire she enters what is termed the "change of life," or the menopause, or the climacteric.

  • He was dizzily weak; collapse had quickly followed the climacteric excitement of being beside her, of speaking to her.

    To Him That Hath Leroy Scott
  • It is also referred to as the climacteric period, meaning that a climax in life has been reached.

British Dictionary definitions for climacteric


/klaɪˈmæktərɪk; ˌklaɪmækˈtɛrɪk/
a critical event or period
another name for menopause
the period in the life of a man corresponding to the menopause, chiefly characterized by diminished sexual activity
(botany) the period during which certain fruits, such as apples, ripen, marked by a rise in the rate of respiration
involving a crucial event or period
Derived Forms
climacterically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin clīmactēricus, from Greek klimaktērikos, from klimakter rung of a ladder, from klimax ladder; see climax
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for climacteric

c.1600 (adj.), 1620s (n.), from Latin climactericus, from Greek klimakterikos "of a critical period," from klimakter "rung of a ladder" (see climax (n.)). A critical stage in human life, a period supposed to be especially liable to change. By some, held to be the years that are multiples of 7 (7, 14, 21, etc.), by others only the odd multiples (7, 21, 35, etc.), and by still others the multiples of 9. The Great Climacteric was the 63rd year (7x9), supposed to be especially critical.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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climacteric in Medicine

climacteric cli·mac·ter·ic (klī-māk'tər-ĭk, klī'māk-těr'ĭk)

  1. A period of life characterized by physiological and psychic change that marks the end of the reproductive capacity of women and terminates with the completion of menopause.

  2. A corresponding period sometimes occurring in men that may be marked by a reduction in sexual activity, although fertility is retained.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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