- 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.
verb (used with or without object)
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Origin of climax
OTHER WORDS FROM climaxhy·per·cli·max, nounun·cli·maxed, adjective
Words nearby climax
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does climax mean?
A climax is the most intense, decisive point of something, especially in a story or film.
Where does climax come from?
Content warning: this article contains language about sex.
We can ultimately thank Greek for the word climax, which literally means “ladder.”
By the 1640s, climax was referring to the culmination of something, such as a competition or story. Many literature students will know climax as the peak or pivotal moment in plays, as modeled by 19th-century German dramatist Gustav Freytag in his namesake, Freytag’s pyramid.
Climax lent itself to sex by the 1870s, used in scientific literature for the orgasm of a person.
How is climax used in real life?
Literature teachers and students will discuss climaxes when analyzing the plot or structure of a story. Climax also sees frequent use in discussion of films, especially their most exciting or significant parts.
At Holtzman's badass scene at the climax? Not gonna lie I literally teared up. This is the second time this happens at a badass moment.
— Alex✨ (@dirtbagboyfren) July 15, 2016
More generally, a climax can refer to the “high point” something has built up to (e.g., The climax of my week was the surprise office party on Friday).
Plenty of erotic novels or pornography titles may feature the word climax, though climax is generally considered inoffensive. In sexual contexts, climax is often used as a verb for “having an orgasm.”
More examples of climax:
“The only drawbacks of the film are its noticeable tendency to abruptly change from scene to scene for most of its run time, although it becomes slightly better toward the end, and a somewhat underwhelming climax — a chase between a fearful group of humans following the discovery of yeti existence.
Overall, the action scenes in “Smallfoot” are successful, but the climax falls short.”
—Alex Novak, Kent Wired, September 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences 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|Kevin Fallon|August 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST
[Laughs] I should have said, “Well, this is certainly a climax!”Allison Janney’s Incredible ‘Double O’ and That ‘Masters of Sex’ Love Scene|Jason Lynch|July 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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|DAILY BEAST
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|Jason Berry|February 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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|Chris Trew|February 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
During this interlude (though it only occupied five seconds) the main combat below reached its climax.Unexplored Spain|Abel Chapman
The settlement of affairs should immediately be brought to a climax.The Swedish-Norwegian Union Crisis|Karl Nordlund
Toward morning the paroxysms appeared to reach a climax and then to subside.'Me-Smith'|Caroline Lockhart
Its climax came in January, 1830, in the remarkable contest between Webster and Hayne, above described.Famous Men and Great Events of the Nineteenth Century|Charles Morris
They all realized that there was imminent a climax unforeseen by all––all but the Judge; and he was too blind with rage to see.Once to Every Man|Larry Evans