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

  • noun A tapering, projecting point; a pointed extremity.
  • noun The pointed summit of a mountain.
  • noun The mountain itself.
  • noun The point of a beard.
  • noun A widow's peak.
  • noun The point of greatest development, value, or intensity: synonym: summit.
  • noun Physics The highest value attained by a varying quantity.
  • noun The narrow portion of a ship's hull at the bow or stern.
  • noun The upper aft corner of a fore-and-aft sail.
  • noun The outermost end of a gaff.
  • intransitive verb Nautical To raise (a gaff) above the horizontal.
  • intransitive verb To bring to a maximum of development, value, or intensity.
  • intransitive verb To be formed into a peak or peaks.
  • intransitive verb To achieve a maximum of development, value, or intensity.
  • adjective Approaching or constituting the maximum.
  • intransitive verb To become sickly, emaciated, or pale.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To rise upward as a peak.
  • Nautical, to raise (a gaff) more obliquely to the mast.
  • To look sickly; be or become emaciated.
  • To make a mean figure; sneak.
  • An obsolete spelling of peek.
  • noun See peag.
  • noun A projecting point; the end of anything that terminates in a point.
  • noun Specifically— A projecting part of a head-covering; the leather vizor projecting in front of a cap.
  • noun The high sharp ridge-bone of the head of a setter-dog.
  • noun Same as pee.
  • noun A precipitous mountain; a mountain with steeply inclined sides, or one which is particularly conspicuous on account of its height above the adjacent region, or because more or less isolated.
  • noun Nautical: The upper corner of a sail which is extended by a gaff; also, the extremity of the gaff. See cut under gaff.
  • noun The contracted part of a ship's hold at the extremities, for ward or aft. The peak forward is called the forepeak; that aft, the after-peak. Also spelled peek.
  • noun The maximum of a load-curve.
  • noun In mech., a heavy load; the heaviest load (on an engine or generator): so called because a peak or protruding point is formed in the line traced by the point of a recording dynamometer at the time of the heavy load or of a maximum load. See load, 8, and peak-load.
  • noun In turpentining, the angle formed by the meeting of the two streaks on the face.
  • noun [capitalized] A name applied to a village at one of the corners or extreme boundaries of a township: as, Derry Peak, on the eastern boundary of Derry.
  • Pertaining or relating to the high point in the diagram from a recording meter, due to a peak or heavy load. See peak, n., 4 and 5.
  • To accentuate.
  • Of a whale, to raise (the tail or flukes) high in the air when making a perpendicular dive: this act is called by the whalers peaking the flukes. T. Beale, Nat. Hist. Sperm Whale, p. 44.

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

  • intransitive verb To rise or extend into a peak or point; to form, or appear as, a peak.
  • intransitive verb To achieve a maximum of numerical value, intensity of activity, popularity, or other characteristic, followed by a decline.
  • intransitive verb To acquire sharpness of figure or features; hence, to look thin or sickly.
  • intransitive verb archaic To pry; to peep slyly.
  • intransitive verb (Arch.) a pointed or Gothic arch.
  • noun A point; the sharp end or top of anything that terminates in a point.
  • noun The top, or one of the tops, of a hill, mountain, or range, ending in a point; often, the whole hill or mountain, esp. when isolated.
  • noun The upper aftermost corner of a fore-and-aft sail; -- used in many combinations
  • noun The narrow part of a vessel's bow, or the hold within it.
  • noun The extremity of an anchor fluke; the bill.


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

[Probably Middle English pike, peke; see pike.]

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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License



Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word peak.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Contronymic in the sense: height of strength vs. sap, enervate.

    January 27, 2007