a lofty peak.
the highest or culminating point, as of success, power, fame, etc.: the pinnacle of one's career.
any pointed, towering part or formation, as of rock.
Architecture. a relatively small, upright structure, commonly terminating in a gable, a pyramid, or a cone, rising above the roof or coping of a building, or capping a tower, buttress, or other projecting architectural member.

verb (used with object), pin·na·cled, pin·na·cling.

to place on or as on a pinnacle.
to form a pinnacle on; crown.

Origin of pinnacle

1300–50; Middle English pinacle < Middle French < Late Latin pinnāculum gable, equivalent to Latin pinn(a) raised part of a parapet, literally, wing, feather (see pinna) + -āculum; see tabernacle

Synonyms for pinnacle

Antonyms for pinnacle

2. base. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pinnacle

Contemporary Examples of pinnacle

Historical Examples of pinnacle

  • It takes courage to step down from the pinnacle you stood on.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • On his right sat Harriet, having reached the first pinnacle of her new career.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • For you know that this affair has set Amadieu on a pinnacle.

  • The height of the pinnacle is determined by the breadth of the base.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • The dome was probably surmounted by a pinnacle, as shown in Fig. 39.


    Thomas Roger Smith

British Dictionary definitions for pinnacle



the highest point or level, esp of fame, success, etc
a towering peak, as of a mountain
a slender upright structure in the form of a cone, pyramid, or spire on the top of a buttress, gable, or tower

verb (tr)

to set on or as if on a pinnacle
to furnish with a pinnacle or pinnacles
to crown with a pinnacle

Word Origin for pinnacle

C14: via Old French from Late Latin pinnāculum a peak, from Latin pinna wing
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 pinnacle

c.1300, "mountain, peak, promontory," from Old French pinacle "top, gable" (13c.) and directly from Late Latin pinnaculum "peak, pinnacle, gable," diminutive of Latin pinna "peak, point," (see pin (n.1)). Figurative use is attested from c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper