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See also: clímax


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From Latin clīmax, from Ancient Greek κλῖμαξ (klîmax, ladder, staircase, [rhetorical] climax), from κλίνω (klínō, I lean, slant).



climax (plural climaxes)

  1. (originally rhetoric) A rhetorical device in which a series is arranged in ascending order.
    • 1589, George Puttenham, The arte of English poesie, Pt. iii, Ch. xix, l. 173:
      A figure which... by his Greeke and Latine originals... may be called the marching figure... it may aswell be called the clyming figure, for Clymax is as much to say as a ladder.
  2. (obsolete) An instance of such an ascending series.
    • 1781, John Moore, A view of society and manners in Italy, Vol. I, Ch. vi, p. 63:
      ...Expressions for the whole Climax of sensibility...
  3. (now commonly) A culmination or acme: the last term in an ascending series, particularly:
    • 1789, Trifler, 448, No. XXXV:
      In the accomplishment of this, they frequently reach the climax of absurdity.
    1. (rhetoric, imprecise) The final term of a rhetorical climax.
      • 1856, Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits, Ch. ix, p. 147:
        When he adds epithets of praise, his climax is ‘so English’.
    2. (ecology) The culmination of ecological development, whereby species are in equilibrium with their environment.
      • 1915 July 17, Bulletin of the Illinois State Laboratory:
        The succession of associations leading to a climax represents the process of adjustment to the conditions of stress, and the climax represents a condition of relative equilibrium. Climax associations... are the resultants of certain climatic, geological... conditions.
    3. The culmination of sexual pleasure, an orgasm.
      • 1918, Marie Carmichael Stopes, Married love, 50:
        In many cases the man's climax comes so swiftly that the woman's reactions are not nearly ready.
    4. (narratology) The culmination of a narrative's rising action, the turning point.



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climax (third-person singular simple present climaxes, present participle climaxing, simple past and past participle climaxed)

  1. To reach or bring to a climax
    • 2012 May 31, Tasha Robinson, “Film: Review: Snow White And The Huntsman”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[1]:
      Huntsman starts out with a vision of Theron that’s specific, unique, and weighted in character, but it trends throughout toward generic fantasy tropes and black-and-white morality, and climaxes in a thoroughly familiar face-off.
  2. To orgasm; to reach orgasm

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climax m (uncountable)

  1. climax (all senses)

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climax m (plural climax)

  1. climax