Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To reach the highest point or degree; climax: habitual antagonism that culminated in open hostility.
  • intransitive v. To come to completion; end: Years of waiting culminated in a tearful reunion.
  • intransitive v. Astronomy To reach the highest point above an observer's horizon. Used of stars and other celestial bodies.
  • transitive v. To bring to the point of greatest intensity or to completion; climax: The ceremony culminated a long week of preparation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. Of a heavenly body, to be at the highest point, reach its greatest altitude.
  • v. To reach the (physical) summit, highest point, peak etc.
  • v. To reach a climax; to come to the decisive point (especially as an end or conclusion).
  • v. To finalize, bring to a conclusion, form the climax of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Growing upward, as distinguished from a lateral growth; -- applied to the growth of corals.
  • intransitive v. To reach its highest point of altitude; to come to the meridian; to be vertical or directly overhead.
  • intransitive v. To reach the highest point, as of rank, size, power, numbers, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To come to or be on the meridian; be in the highest point of altitude, as a star, or, according to the usage of astronomers, reach either the highest or the lowest altitude.
  • To reach the highest point, apex, or summit, literally or figuratively.
  • n. Growing upward, as distinguished from a lateral growth: applied to the growth of corals.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. bring to a head or to the highest point
  • v. rise to, or form, a summit
  • v. reach the highest or most decisive point
  • v. end, especially to reach a final or climactic stage
  • v. reach the highest altitude or the meridian, of a celestial body

Etymologies

Late Latin culmināre, culmināt-, from Latin culmen, culmin-, summit; see kel-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Recorded since 1647, from Medieval Latin culminatus, the past participle of culminare ("to crown"), from Latin culmen ("peak, the highest point"), older form columen ("top, summit"), from a Proto-Indo-European base *kel- "to project". (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "What this will do - and I hate to use the word culminate - but this will culminate in a strategic plan and then go into an implementation phase.

    Sand Mountain Reporter: News

  • Stalls for the thirty-eight-member choir face the congregation, and vaulted ceilings culminate in a magnificent triangular stained glass window—the only artwork in sight.

    American Grace

  • By the way, I'm delighted that similar public-engagement strategies will be broadly leveraged during the USA Science & Engineering Festival, which will culminate October 23-24 with an expo on the National Mall.

    Alan I. Leshner: How Science Museums Are Promoting Civil Religion-Science Dialogue

  • "The whole thing will culminate in New York," Ms. McGregor said.

    Thirty-Two Years and Counting

  • "Deal flow has returned since July ... and most of the deals will culminate into orders in October-February," HCL Technologies Chief Executive Vineet Nayar told reporters at a news conference.

    HCL Technologies Profit Up 3.1%

  • Pyongyang was in a festive mood as North Korea marked the anniversary of the founding of the ruling party with a weekend of celebrations that will culminate in a massive military parade Sunday.

    Tehran denies worker espionage

  • But the storyline he's a part of will apparently culminate with Hart facing Vince McMahon in a "street fight" at WrestleMania in March.

    Wrestling With Shadows

  • Either this or it may culminate with a qualitatively new form of confrontation.

    Raghida Dergham: Abbas and a "Civil" Intifada in International Bodies

  • He seemed to know the precise time required for the turn to culminate in disaster, and in the meantime he utilized the false footing itself for the momentary earth-contact necessary to carry him on into safety.

    All Gold Cañon

  • SPRING SNAPSHOT: The Ragin 'Cajuns begin practice on March 3, and spring drills will culminate with the spring game on March 27.

    Around the Sun Belt Conference

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