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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".



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