Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A critical period or year in a person's life when major changes in health or fortune are thought to take place.
  • noun A critical stage, period, or year.
  • adjective Of or relating to a climacteric.
  • adjective Critical; crucial.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining to a critical period, crisis, or climax.
  • noun A critical period in life, or a period in winch some great change is supposed to take place in the human constitution; especially, the so-called change of life or menopause.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Relating to a climacteric; critical.
  • noun A period in human life in which some great change is supposed to take place in the constitution. The critical periods are thought by some to be the years produced by multiplying 7 into the odd numbers 3, 5, 7, and 9; to which others add the 81st year.
  • noun Any critical period.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A period in human life in which some great change is supposed to take place in the constitution. The critical periods are thought by some to be the years produced by multiplying 7 into the odd numbers 3, 5, 7, and 9; to which others add the 81st year.
  • noun The period of life that leads up to and follows the end of menstruation in women; the change of life
  • noun A critical stage or decisive point; a crisis
  • adjective Of or pertaining to the climacteric
  • adjective critical or crucial

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

  • noun the time in a woman's life in which the menstrual cycle ends
  • noun a period in a man's life corresponding to menopause

Etymologies

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

[From Latin clīmactēricus, of a dangerous period in life, from Greek klīmaktērikos, from klīmaktēr, dangerous point, rung of a ladder, from klīmax, ladder; see climax.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin climactericus, from Ancient Greek κλίμάκτήρίκος ("scale, progression, gradation").

Examples

  • Fruits that do continue ripening off the tree are called climacteric.

    The Fruit Hunters

  • Fruits that do continue ripening off the tree are called climacteric.

    The Fruit Hunters

  • Fruits that do continue ripening off the tree are called climacteric.

    The Fruit Hunters

  • "The years of the climacteric are the most troublesome in married life," the Czechoslovakian physician Arnold Lorand declared in his 1910 classic "Old Age Deferred" -- "not only for the wife, who is directly affected by it, but also in almost equal degree for the husband, who must show the greatest forbearance."

    The End Of The Age Of Estrogen

  • The menopause, also called the climacteric, and in common language

    Woman Her Sex and Love Life

  • If ever people could apply the word "climacteric" to a period of the World's history you can apply it to this period.

    Confessions of a New Canadian

  • "climacteric" years which someone had mentioned in his presence and the meaning of which he did not himself very well understand.

    Knock, Knock, Knock and Other Stories

  • As she leaned her head on her hand, a fleeting vision of her own girlhood, with its mournful climacteric and tragic ebb, was vouchsafed her, and for the moment she was minded to read him a lesson from it.

    THE SCORN OF WOMEN

  • All that he did know was that a climacteric in his life had been attained.

    Chapter 40

  • As she leaned her head on her hand, a fleeting vision of her own girlhood, with its mournful climacteric and tragic ebb, was vouchsafed her, and for the moment she was minded to read him a lesson from it.

    Jack London Play:The Scorn of Women

Comments

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  • Yet I believe you must not expect him to be honest on this side of his grand climacteric.

    Anna Howe to Clarissa Harlowe, Clarissa by Samuel Richardson

    December 11, 2007

  • "'...to say nothing of the falling damps, so fatal to those that have passed the climacteric...'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 80

    February 13, 2008

  • Citation on bib.

    October 8, 2008

  • JM is anticipating a grand climacteric in the next year or so.

    October 5, 2010

  • (noun) - By the climacteric system, seven years was declared to be the termination of childhood; fourteen the term of puberty; twenty-one of adult age; thirty-five, or five times seven, as the height of physical and bodily strength. At forty-nine the person was said to have reached the height of his mental strength or intellectual powers; at sixty-three, or nine times seven, he was said to have reached the grand climacteric.

    January 16, 2018

  • The passage I’m sure is generic

    And comes to each celibate cleric:

    A mid-life decision

    Twixt sex and religion

    Must mark any true climacteric.

    March 18, 2019