- To culminate is to reach the highest point or to reach a point that all other things have been leading up to.
An example of culminate is the highest point of tension in a movie to which all story lines have been leading.
intransitive verbculminated, culminating
- to reach its highest or lowest altitude: said of a celestial body
- to reach its highest point or climax; result (in)
Origin of culminate; from Medieval Latin culminatus, past participle of culminare ; from Classical Latin culmen (gen. culminis), peak, summit, contr. of columen: see column
verbcul·mi·nat·ed, cul·mi·nat·ing, cul·mi·nates
- a. To reach the highest point or degree; climax: habitual antagonism that culminated in open hostility.b. To come to completion; end: Years of waiting culminated in a tearful reunion.
- Astronomy To reach the highest point above an observer's horizon. Used of stars and other celestial bodies.
Origin of culminateLate Latin culmināre, culmināt-, from Latin culmen, culmin-, summit; see kel-2 in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present culminates, present participle culminating, simple past and past participle culminated)
- (intransitive, astronomy) Of a heavenly body, to be at the highest point, reach its greatest altitude.
- (intransitive) To reach the (physical) summit, highest point, peak etc.
- (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.
- To finalize, bring to a conclusion, form the climax of.