- See under climacteric(def 3).
- 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 cli·mac·ter·i·cal [klahy-mak-ter-i-kuh l] /ˌklaɪ mækˈtɛr ɪ kəl/. critical; crucial.
Origin of climacteric
- 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
Word Origin and History for grand 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.