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From Middle English, borrowed from Old French pinacle, pinnacle, from Late Latin pinnaculum (a peak, pinnacle), double diminutive of Latin pinna (a pinnacle); see pin. Doublet of panache.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpɪnəkəl/
    • (file)


pinnacle (plural pinnacles)

  1. The highest point.
    Antonym: nadir
  2. A tall, sharp and craggy rock or mountain.
  3. (figuratively) An all-time high; a point of greatest achievement or success.
    • 2018, James Lambert, “A multitude of ‘lishes’: The nomenclature of hybridity”, in English World-Wide[1], page 7:
      The pinnacle of the effort to fix restrictive meanings to a set of terminology can be found in two papers in American Speech by Feinsilver (1979, 1980).
  4. (architecture) An upright member, generally ending in a small spire, used to finish a buttress, to constitute a part in a proportion, as where pinnacles flank a gable or spire.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 3”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker [] [a]nd by Robert Boulter [] [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      Some renowned metropolis / With glistering spires and pinnacles around.



See also[edit]


pinnacle (third-person singular simple present pinnacles, present participle pinnacling, simple past and past participle pinnacled)

  1. To put something on a pinnacle.
  2. To build or furnish with a pinnacle or pinnacles.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of T. Warton to this entry?)


Further reading[edit]