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.

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 culminating

Contemporary Examples of culminating

Historical Examples of culminating

  • When he had said it, he took a culminating pinch of snuff, and put his box in his pocket.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • And then Mr. Gollop sat up and grinned with the culminating joy of the morning!

    Mixed Faces

    Roy Norton

  • On November 3, the trouble in Colombia reached its culminating point.

  • The culminating point in his good fortune was reached in the following autumn.

    Henry VIII.

    A. F. Pollard

  • This was the culminating point of anxiety with their friends.

British Dictionary definitions for culminating



(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 culminating



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