Origin of peak

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

Synonyms for peak

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

Antonyms for peak



verb (used without object)

to become weak, thin, and sickly.

Origin of peak

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for peak

Contemporary Examples of peak

Historical Examples of peak

  • 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.

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

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

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



a pointed end, edge, or projectionthe peak of a roof
the pointed summit of a mountain
a mountain with a pointed summit
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
Also called: visor a projecting piece on the front of some caps
  1. See widow's peak
  2. the pointed end of a beard
  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


(tr) nautical to set (a gaff) or tilt (oars) vertically
to form or reach or cause to form or reach a peak or maximum


of or relating to a period of highest use or demand, as for watching television, commuting, etcpeak viewing hours; peak time
Derived Formspeaky or peakish, adjective

Word Origin for peak

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

"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."


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper