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pinnacles(4) on King's College Chapel, Cambridge, UK


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.
    Synonyms: acme, peak, summit
    Antonym: nadir
  2. (geology) A tall, sharp and craggy rock or mountain.
    Coordinate term: sea stack
  3. (figuratively) An all-time high; a point of greatest achievement or success.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:apex
    • 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.



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

  1. (transitive) To place on a pinnacle.
    • 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure[2]:
      And down this vast gulf upon which we were pinnacled the great draught dashed and roared, driving clouds and misty wreaths of vapour before it, till we were nearly blinded, and utterly confused.
  2. (transitive) To build or furnish with a pinnacle or pinnacles.
    • 1782, Thomas Warton, The History and Antiquities of Kiddington
      The pediment of the Southern Transept is pinnacled, not inelegantly, with a flourished cross


Further reading[edit]