Definition of pinnacle in English:



  • 1The most successful point; the culmination.

    ‘he had reached the pinnacle of his career’
    • ‘He attained the pinnacle of success he has always dreamed.’
    • ‘Although he reached the pinnacle of success, he was unspoilt by it.’
    • ‘He rose from very humble beginnings and reached the pinnacle of success and later he fell, due to his own avarice and crookedness.’
    • ‘Think back to 1997, when the Brit shoe-gazing movement had reached the pinnacle of its US success.’
    • ‘After working in the hospitality industry for 21 years, Gao has proved herself to be a person who reaches the pinnacle of success in whatever field she involves herself.’
    • ‘The boom-and-bust economy sent a few poor men to the pinnacle of success while merchants dreaded overstocked markets and plummeting fortunes.’
    • ‘Being rich, successful and at the pinnacle of your profession appears to be frowned upon if you are David Beckham.’
    • ‘It remains a powerful and compelling story that someone comes here with nothing, can't even speak English, and rises to the pinnacle of success.’
    • ‘Knokke's Casino represented for a Belgian singer like Brel the pinnacle of success, glamorous like Las Vegas was for Frank Sinatra.’
    • ‘Although Louise seemed to have reached the pinnacle of success and was becoming increasingly famous for her work, she began to feel that it was time to embark on yet another direction along her path.’
    • ‘So, after reaching the pinnacle of success as guest choir at the Jack Symons Charity Concert, what's left for Charlotte and her young singers?’
    • ‘Thackeray said the BJP had touched the pinnacle of success under Vajpayee's leadership and lamented that some ambitious leaders in the party were eyeing his place.’
    • ‘Inside we have two full pages of coverage of this great achievement, and many local people tell of their delight to be part of an effort that has reached the pinnacle of success in the county.’
    • ‘After all, women are at the pinnacle of all-time success.’
    • ‘In science, theory is the pinnacle of scientific success.’
    • ‘Perhaps the pinnacle of his behind-the-scenes success has been Jamaica's Carnival.’
    • ‘Thanks to Inchon, MacArthur, a general who always put himself above the normal chain of command, was at the pinnacle of his success.’
    • ‘Growing up in the poor country, he viewed Hollywood celebrities as the pinnacle of success.’
    • ‘It's an indisputable fact that departmental status represents the pinnacle of academic success - in both scholarly and institutional terms.’
    • ‘Cllr Staunton said that Westport had reached the pinnacle of success, but added that there are still challenges ahead.’
    highest level, peak, height, high point, high spot, summit, top, climax, crowning point, peak of perfection, apex, vertex, zenith, apogee, ascendancy, upper limit, acme, meridian
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  • 2A high, pointed piece of rock.

    • ‘Dinner at the River Grill means first deciding on where to sit: a table near the copper-chimneyed fireplace or one out on the deck where you can watch the sunset torch the red rock pinnacles.’
    • ‘Eventually the Scot flew away in the closing stages to pursue the four survivors of an escape which had hightailed it south among the towering rock pinnacles of the Col de l' Izoard.’
    • ‘As we chugged along the vivid green Wuyang River towards Dragon King Gorge, thickly forested crags and pinnacles of rock rose high above.’
    • ‘Suddenly we come across a huge expanse of startlingly blue water mirroring vermilion rocks and towering pinnacles.’
    • ‘The Pyramids of Zone may sound like a New Age cure - but these spindly pinnacles of soft rock, most of which have large boulders perched on top like small atomic explosions, are as Ice Age as they come.’
    • ‘A solid mass of white water surged around great pinnacles of rock, over a hundred feet below me.’
    • ‘The ridge was steep and narrow, a dragon's back of rock pinnacles.’
    • ‘As Fox approached the pinnacles of rock, he slowed down to little more than a crawling pace and, using the system installed in his rover, scanned the area ahead for security sensor nets.’
    • ‘Thirteen maybe unlucky for some but after forking out the £1,800 costs each, they are hoping to get up and down the African pinnacle in one proud piece.’
    • ‘Other birds favour nesting on river gorge cliffs and the tops of rock pinnacles in gorges.’
    • ‘Moving along the edge of a rock pinnacle, the diver inspects a narrow crevice; the entire fissure appears to be vibrating!’
    • ‘The stern of the Febrero must have come to rest on this rock, as the propshaft sticks out to the south through a gully that splits the rock into two pinnacles.’
    • ‘If you do not intend to scale pinnacles of rock surrounded by pounding surf, or explore the island's innards by kayak, you can discover the land that time forgot with your own two feet.’
    • ‘The beaches are empty except for the odd experienced surfer and the shoreline is punctuated by unlikely, romantic pinnacles of rock.’
    • ‘The Red Plum's box keel was scraped, but her hull was undamaged by the uncharted pinnacle of rock which she encountered around ten miles off the coast of the Antarctic peninsula.’
    • ‘We are drifting in the surge line between rock pinnacles and the bluff and I cannot believe my eyes.’
    • ‘This area includes a pinnacle or rock climbing wall and a waterfall.’
    • ‘When we arrived at the rock pinnacle on the side of the canyon, I showed them a couple of thin crack lines I had scouted out a week or two before.’
    • ‘The man grinned, his teeth like pinnacles of old rock at strange angles in his gums.’
    • ‘They seem to prefer pinnacles of rock that are home for abundant populations of smaller fishes, and that have some suitable shelter site such as a large cave or crevice.’
    peak, needle, crag, tor, summit, top, mountaintop, crest, apex, tip, vertex
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    1. 2.1 A small pointed turret built as an ornament on a roof.
      • ‘The main medieval style in western Europe, characterized by the pointed arch, slender columns and shafts, buttresses, pinnacles, and increasingly complex ceiling vaulting and window tracery.’
      • ‘The structure reminded Manda of a creepy haunted mansion she'd often seen in movies, the grouped chimneys and pinnacles, the sloping roof, the parapets and the oriel and quatrefoil windows.’
      • ‘A stone pinnacle on the central tower crashed down on to the south transept roof and several other pinnacles were found to be loose.’
      • ‘St Peter's, which dates back to the 12th Century, will stage the concert to build up its reserves after having to spend 60,000 replacing the tower pinnacles and parapet.’
      • ‘I noted other pinnacles and spires rising out of the cliff and looked forward to exploring the area further.’
      • ‘The family of a woman killed when a stone pinnacle fell from the roof of a 14th century church criticised a coroner yesterday for his decision not to call for a nationwide review of the safety of historic buildings.’
      • ‘Between the slab and the black marble base is a double arcade of carved alabaster delicately embellished with trefoil arches, crocket capitals, and pinnacles.’
      • ‘They came from the Parthenon, which marks the highest pinnacle of classical Doric architecture.’
      • ‘The city rose in spires and pinnacles, and buildings fit in gracefully with the few trees that still grew there.’
      • ‘At times, the flourish over the city of towers and spires, domes, cupolas and pinnacles has an insubstantial visionary quality, seeming detached from the sturdy fabric beneath.’
      • ‘Late medieval screens were frequently carved in an exuberant Gothic style with fretted tracery, pinnacles, and arcades.’
      • ‘The Catholic Cathedral had one of the pinnacles of the steeple tower blown down.’
      • ‘The following year the Regensburg master mason Matthaus Roriczer published a short treatise on the proper way to make finials and pinnacles.’
      • ‘Conical spires on top support pinnacles that enabled the towers to obtain the coveted height record.’
      • ‘They taper gradually as they rise from a base diameter of 2.4m and, as they approach the top, they are inclined inwards to come together under the pinnacles.’
      • ‘Restoration work is needed to the tower, pinnacles and deteriorated stonework’
      • ‘In the 1820s it was updated with some gothic features including a pointed entrance doorway with pinnacles and quatrefoil window, battlements on the end pavilions and a gothic conservatory with stone piers.’
      • ‘The memorable events would be symbolized and carved into a totem pole that would stand at the pinnacle of the pagoda roof for the next year's gyre journey.’
      • ‘The rockfaces rose around us like cathedral walls, with pinnacles like finials and buttresses that protruded as chunks had eroded underneath.’
      • ‘From the outside with its pinnacles and quatrefoils, the gallery resembled a cathedral.’
      turret, minaret, spire, belfry, obelisk, needle, pyramid, cone, finial, shikara, mirador
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[with object]literary
  • 1Form the culminating point or example of.

    • ‘Anybody who knows Jake's career knows that he pinnacled the liberal-media ladder a decade ago and then bounded to the top of a tower crane that's beyond politics.’
  • 2Set on or as if on a pinnacle.


Middle English: from Old French, from late Latin pinnaculum, diminutive of pinna ‘wing, point’.