Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



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".


  • (file)


culminate (third-person singular simple present culminates, present participle culminating, simple past and past participle culminated)

  1. (intransitive, astronomy) Of a heavenly body, to be at the highest point, reach its greatest altitude.
  2. (intransitive) To reach the (physical) summit, highest point, peak etc.
    • Milton
      As when his beams at noon / Culminate from the equator.
    • Dana
      The reptile race culminated in the secondary era.
    • Motley
      The house of Burgundy was rapidly culminating.
  3. (intransitive) To reach a climax; to come to the decisive point (especially as an end or conclusion).
    Their messy breakup culminated in a restraining order.
    New York Times Mr. Bush has been marking the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11 with a series of speeches about terrorism that culminated with his televised address last night.
    The class will culminate with a rigorous examination.
  4. (transitive) To finalize, bring to a conclusion, form the climax of.
    • 2010, "By the skin of her teeth", The Economist, 7 Sep 2010:
      The announcement by Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott in Canberra culminated more than a fortnight of intensive political horse-trading.


Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further reading[edit]




  1. second-person plural present indicative of culminare
  2. second-person plural imperative of culminare