[ kuhl-muh-neyt ]
/ ˈkʌl məˌneɪt /

verb (used without object), cul·mi·nat·ed, cul·mi·nat·ing.

to reach the highest point, summit, or highest development (usually followed by in).
to end or arrive at a final stage (usually followed by in): The argument culminated in a fistfight.
to rise to or form an apex; terminate (usually followed by in): The tower culminates in a tall spire.
Astronomy. (of a celestial body) to be on the meridian, or reach the highest or the lowest altitude.

verb (used with object), cul·mi·nat·ed, cul·mi·nat·ing.

to bring to a close; complete; climax: A rock song culminates the performance.

Nearby words

  1. culm,
  2. culmen,
  3. culmicolous,
  4. culmiferous,
  5. culminant,
  6. culmination,
  7. culminative,
  8. culo,
  9. culottes,
  10. culpa

Origin of culminate

1640–50; < Late Latin culminātus (past participle of culmināre to come to a peak), equivalent to Latin culmin- (stem of culmen) peak, top + -ātus -ate1

Related formsnon·cul·mi·nat·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for culminate

British Dictionary definitions for culminate


/ (ˈkʌlmɪˌneɪt) /


(when intr, usually foll by in) to end or cause to end, esp to reach or bring to a final or climactic stage
(intr) (of a celestial body) to cross the meridian of the observer

Word Origin for culminate

C17: from Late Latin culmināre to reach the highest point, from Latin culmen top

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

Word Origin and History for culminate



1640s, from Late Latin culminatus past participle of culminare "to top, to crown," from Latin culmen (genitive culminis) "top, peak, summit, roof, gable," also used figuratively, contraction of columen (see column). Related: Culminated; culminating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper