- the highest or most intense point in the development or resolution of something; culmination: His career reached its climax when he was elected president.
- (in a dramatic or literary work) a decisive moment that is of maximum intensity or is a major turning point in a plot.
- a figure consisting of a series of related ideas so arranged that each surpasses the preceding in force or intensity.
- the last term or member of this figure.
- an orgasm.
- Ecology. the stable and self-perpetuating end stage in the ecological succession or evolution of a plant and animal community.
- to bring to or reach a climax.
Origin of climax
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for climax
And it is that climax where the book and the film diverge the most, and which will probably upset the most people.Why 'The Giver' Movie Will Disappoint the Book's Fans
August 15, 2014
[Laughs] I should have said, “Well, this is certainly a climax!”Allison Janney’s Incredible ‘Double O’ and That ‘Masters of Sex’ Love Scene
July 14, 2014
But then, as the song reaches its climax, the Marines explode.Why These Marines Love ‘Frozen’—and Why It Matters
Aaron B. O’Connell
June 27, 2014
At the climax of the play, Willy Loman ruefully tells his two sons that he was fired that day from his job.From Katrina to the Clink: Ex New Orleans Mayor Heads to Prison
February 13, 2014
You show us as much as you want, from meeting your partner to the climax.‘Love & Air Sex’: A Rowdy Film that Demystifies the Kinky Air Sex Championships
February 8, 2014
The solemn mysteries have their place, but it is one of climax.The Conquest of Fear
The story has now reached a point which I cannot help regarding as its climax.The Story of the Malakand Field Force
Sir Winston S. Churchill
If he had been waiting for a climax, he was entirely satisfied.Quaint Courtships
These words brought Pierre's disquietude and exasperation to a climax.
This was the climax of the prelate's favour, the apogee of his power.
- the most intense or highest point of an experience or of a series of eventsthe party was the climax of the week
- a decisive moment in a dramatic or other work
- a rhetorical device by which a series of sentences, clauses, or phrases are arranged in order of increasing intensity
- ecology the stage in the development of a community during which it remains stable under the prevailing environmental conditions
- Also called: sexual climax (esp in referring to women) another word for orgasm
- to reach or bring to a climax
Word Origin and History for climax
1580s, in the rhetorical sense (a chain of reasoning in graduating steps from weaker to stronger), from Late Latin climax (genitive climacis), from Greek klimax "propositions rising in effectiveness," literally "ladder," from root of klinein "to slope," from PIE root *klei- "to lean" (see lean (v.)).
The rhetorical meaning evolved in English through "series of steps by which a goal is achieved," to "escalating steps," to (1789) "high point of intensity or development," a usage credited by the OED to "popular ignorance." The meaning "sexual orgasm" is recorded by 1880 (also in terms such as climax of orgasm), said to have been promoted from c.1900 by birth-control pioneer Marie Stopes (1880-1958) and others as a more accessible word than orgasm (n.).
1835, "to reach the highest point," from climax (n.). Related: Climaxed; climaxing.
- The height of a disease; the stage of greatest severity.