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peak1

[peek]
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noun
  1. the pointed top of a mountain or ridge.
  2. a mountain with a pointed summit.
  3. the pointed top of anything.
  4. the highest or most important point or level: the peak of her political career.
  5. the maximum point, degree, or volume of anything: Oil prices reached their peak last year.
  6. a time of the day or year when traffic, use, demand, etc., is greatest and charges, fares, or the like are at the maximum: Early evening is the peak on commuter railroads.
  7. the higher fare, charges, etc., during such a period: If you fly during the Christmas holidays, you'll have to pay peak.
  8. Physics.
    1. the maximum value of a quantity during a specified time interval: a voltage peak.
    2. the maximum power consumed or produced by a unit or group of units in a stated period of time.
  9. a projecting point: the peak of a man's beard.
  10. widow's peak.
  11. a projecting front piece, or visor, of a cap.
  12. Phonetics. nucleus(def 8a).
  13. Nautical.
    1. the contracted part of a ship's hull at the bow or the stern.
    2. the upper after corner of a sail that is extended by a gaff.
    3. the outer extremity of a gaff.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to project in a peak.
  2. to attain a peak of activity, development, popularity, etc.: The artist peaked in the 1950s.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Nautical. to raise the after end of (a yard, gaff, etc.) to or toward an angle above the horizontal.
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adjective
  1. Also on-peak. being at the point of maximum frequency, intensity, use, etc.; busiest or most active: Hotel rooms are most expensive during the peak travel seasons.
  2. constituting the highest or maximum level, volume, etc.; optimal; prime: a machine running at peak performance.
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Origin of peak1

1520–30; perhaps < Middle Low German pēk pick, pike
Related formspeak·less, adjectivepeak·like, adjective
Can be confusedpeak peek pique piqué

Synonyms

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2, 4. pinnacle. 4. acme, zenith.

Antonyms

peak2

[peek]
verb (used without object)
  1. to become weak, thin, and sickly.
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Origin of peak2

First recorded in 1500–10; origin uncertain
Related formspeak·ish, adjectivepeak·ish·ly, adverbpeak·ish·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

mountainpinnacleroofsummithillspikecresttopheightclimaxculminatepointapexvertexbrowtipcrownbumpcopemount

Examples from the Web for peak

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • At length, when we were nearly under the peak, he began to ascend.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • Wotan walked around the peak, drawing a line with his spear.

  • And however high a peak you climb, the plain is still as high as the peak.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • They seem to involve the bore of a climb without the pleasure of a peak.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • "I will ask one of the engine-drivers, my lady," he answered, with his hand at the peak of his cap.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman


British Dictionary definitions for peak

peak

noun
  1. a pointed end, edge, or projectionthe peak of a roof
  2. the pointed summit of a mountain
  3. a mountain with a pointed summit
  4. the point of greatest development, strength, etcthe peak of his career
    1. a sharp increase in a physical quantity followed by a sharp decreasea voltage peak
    2. the maximum value of this quantity
    3. (as modifier)peak voltage
  5. Also called: visor a projecting piece on the front of some caps
    1. See widow's peak
    2. the pointed end of a beard
  6. nautical
    1. the extreme forward (forepeak) or aft (afterpeak) part of the hull
    2. (of a fore-and-aft quadrilateral sail) the after uppermost corner
    3. the after end of a gaff
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verb
  1. (tr) nautical to set (a gaff) or tilt (oars) vertically
  2. to form or reach or cause to form or reach a peak or maximum
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adjective
  1. of or relating to a period of highest use or demand, as for watching television, commuting, etcpeak viewing hours; peak time
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Derived Formspeaky or peakish, adjective

Word Origin

C16: perhaps from pike ², influenced by beak 1; compare Spanish pico, French pic, Middle Low German pēk
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 peak

n.

"pointed top," 1520s, variant of pike (n.4) "sharp point." Meaning "top of a mountain" first recorded 1630s, though pike was used in this sense c.1400. Figurative sense is 1784. Meaning "point formed by hair on the forehead" is from 1833. According to OED, The Peak in Derbyshire is older than the word for "mountaintop;" e.g. Old English Peaclond, for the district, Pecsaetan, for the people who settled there, Peaces ærs for Peak Cavern; sometimes said to be a reference to an elf-denizen Peac "Puck."

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v.

1570s, "to rise in a peak," from peak (n.). Figurative meaning "reach highest point" first recorded 1958. Related: peaked; peaking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper