One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A climacteric or critical year or period of time in a person's life or career; specifically the female menopause. Also: a year or period of time in which a critical event or significant change occurs or is expected to occur.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Charles Butler (1560–1647), philologist and apiarist. From classical Latin clīmactēr one of certain critical points in human life, or its etymon ancient Greek κλιμακτήρ rung of a ladder, in Hellenistic Greek also one of certain critical points in human life from κλίμαξ ladder + -τήρ, suffix forming agent nouns.
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