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climactic

[ klahy-mak-tik ]
/ klaɪˈmæk tɪk /
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See synonyms for: climactic / climactically on Thesaurus.com

adjective
pertaining to or coming to a climax: the climactic scene of a play.
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Also cli·mac·ti·cal .

Origin of climactic

1870–75; from climax, perhaps on model of syntax, syntactic

OTHER WORDS FROM climactic

cli·mac·ti·cal·ly, adverbnon·cli·mac·tic, adjectivenon·cli·mac·ti·cal, adjectiveun·cli·mac·tic, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH climactic

climactic , climatic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

CLIMACTIC VS. CLIMATIC

What’s the difference between climactic and climatic?

Climactic is used to describe things that involve or feel like a climax—the culmination or most intense part of a story or situation. Climatic means relating to climate—the average atmospheric conditions that prevail in a given region over a long period of time—whether a place is generally cold and wet or hot and dry, for example.

Climactic is used in situations in which a peak of some kind is being reached, such as a climactic ending of a movie. The word anticlimactic is used—perhaps more commonly—to mean the opposite, such as when you expect something exciting to happen but it doesn’t.

Climatic is not all that commonly used, especially because it has a much more narrow meaning. It’s typically used in scientific contexts involving climate and weather.

You can keep their spellings straight by remembering that climactic comes from climax, so it needs that c in replacement of the x before the ending -tic. Climatic, on the other hand, is basically climate plus the -ic ending (with the e having been dropped).

Here’s an example of climactic and climatic used correctly in a sentence.

Example: Many people have failed to recognize the danger of the change in climatic conditions because the change has been a relatively gradual one, rather than a dramatic, climactic spike—but that may soon change.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between climactic and climatic.

Quiz yourself on climactic vs. climatic!

Should climactic or climatic be used in the following sentence?

Someone knocked on the door right when the movie had reached its _____ moment.

How to use climactic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for climactic

climactic

climactical (klaɪˈmæktɪkəl)

/ (klaɪˈmæktɪk) /

adjective
consisting of, involving, or causing a climax

Derived forms of climactic

climactically, adverb

undefined climactic

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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