Definition of climax in US English:



  • 1The most intense, exciting, or important point of something; a culmination or apex.

    ‘the climax of her speech’
    ‘a thrilling climax to the game’
    • ‘The first is a richly layered carpet of sound that swarms out from the speakers, each track picking up pace to an intense climax.’
    • ‘Royalty was on hand at York Racecourse as the highlight of the May Meeting reached its climax on Knavesmire.’
    • ‘The pope blessed the two crowns, and the ceremony reached its climax when Napoleon crowned himself and his wife Josephine.’
    • ‘The match delivered an exciting climax after a total of 550 runs were scored by both teams but the result was not what South African fans wanted.’
    • ‘Only after four or five minutes does the music become loud, and then there is an intense climax, followed by a return to quiet strings, woodwinds and muted brass.’
    • ‘The tight Premier Division is heading towards an exciting climax.’
    • ‘He used the word ‘journey’ again and again especially as the speech reached its climax.’
    • ‘There is some lively melody, an intense climax, and a quiet ending to the movement, which is marked Lento.’
    • ‘There is a magical moment when an intense climax suddenly becomes a barely audible, hushed pianissimo.’
    • ‘Matters come to a head when the star is expelled from the team, leading to a climax at once disturbingly intense and morally dubious.’
    • ‘After all, failure to do so could leave them as hapless bystanders in a game of musical chairs which may be nearing its climax.’
    • ‘Beginning almost teasingly, it builds to a thrillingly intense climax, Cave screaming that he's not afraid to die.’
    • ‘On this note, this year's Arab summit ritual reached its climax.’
    • ‘It's hard to imagine more exciting climaxes than those three.’
    • ‘The culmination of that was an uplifting climax heightened by the emotional residue of what had gone before.’
    • ‘The only real complaint with Dark Water is with the disappointing epilogue that follows the intense climax.’
    • ‘It was a cracking climax to an intense week of future fashion.’
    • ‘‘That day was a culmination, a climax, the end of a very long road,’ Lewis later wrote.’
    • ‘Glover also provides the eerie guitar noodling and intense emotional climaxes.’
    • ‘At the end of this book we are given a look into the future lives and deaths of the characters - a satisfying way to end after the intense climax.’
    peak, pinnacle, height, high point, highest point, summit, top
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    1. 1.1 An orgasm.
      • ‘Besides, so-called G-spot orgasms are different than clitoral climaxes.’
      • ‘The term ‘orgasm’ - derived from ‘organ’, meaning to grow ripe, swell, or be lustful - is applied equally to the sexual climaxes of women and men.’
      • ‘For a man, sex instinctively is a testosterone drive toward the ultimate release of climax.’
      • ‘Dodd and I weren't the type that made love every night and attempted to have climaxes and get kids.’
      • ‘Ejaculation is normally the climax in a male orgasm.’
      • ‘He engages in foreplay, but suffers panic attacks before the climax.’
      • ‘I want to make you know about sex, to feel thrilling climaxes.’
      • ‘Sexual climax or orgasm is the healthy, normal, inevitable, outcome of the three preceding stages.’
      • ‘Use this information as the basis for achieving a strong sexual climax and ejaculate.’
      orgasm, sexual climax
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    2. 1.2Ecology The final stage in a succession in a given environment, at which a plant community reaches a state of equilibrium.
      as modifier ‘a mixed hardwood climax forest’
      • ‘Previous authors have suggested some oak communities represent edaphic climaxes on poor, droughty soils.’
      • ‘Established climax pecan forests became the first commercial pecan production groves in the mid-1800s.’
      • ‘Eventually, hardwood trees invade and replace the pines, forming the hardwood climax community.’
      • ‘Here we've got climax community growing on fantastic soils and it's very tall, certainly up towards 50 metres some of the tallest trees.’
      • ‘He instructed Shenandoah officials to restore the Blue Ridge's climax community as it existed before humans impacted the environment.’
    3. 1.3Rhetoric A sequence of propositions or ideas in order of increasing importance, force, or effectiveness of expression.
      • ‘The climax forces the audience to challenge their previous judgments and provides a short sharp twist in this story that captures the imagination.’
      • ‘Kamal said only the climax sequence had to be shot.’
      • ‘Sudden lurches and climaxes and rolling tympani increase the tension.’
      • ‘The climax offers a surprisingly effective final sequence, making even the typical hurry-up-before-time-runs-out device pay off.’
      • ‘First-rate writers don't need to create plotty ‘suspense’ in order to achieve their moral climaxes.’


[no object]
  • 1Culminate in an exciting or impressive event; reach a climax.

    ‘the day climaxed with a gala concert’
    • ‘The day-long event climaxed at 7pm when organisers called on demonstrators to clasp hands and sing ‘Hatikvah,’ the national anthem.’
    • ‘The day's spectacular events were climaxing with a torchlit procession and a floodlit battle in the shadow of Clifford's Tower.’
    • ‘The Scarborough Winter Golf Alliance climaxed with victory for Scarborough South Cliff GC in the season's final fixture at Driffield.’
    • ‘Their first year climaxed with the Kinshasa newspaper Elima naming the band the best orchestra, Wemba best singer, and their single, ‘Mere Superieure,’ best song.’
    • ‘The show climaxed with Bento, a sharply critical number about corrupt government officials and businesspeople.’
    • ‘His contribution climaxed with the comment, referring to those surrounding him on the podium, ‘With such people leading us, we can never win.’’
    • ‘The race climaxed with a final ski station finish at Artesina, after a tough nine-mile climb.’
    • ‘The bulk of African medals came from the long distance events, climaxing in a third world title for Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj in the 1500m.’
    • ‘The highlight of the concert was the Indian composition, ‘Stimulation’, a beautiful piece that climaxed with a deluge of percussion.’
    • ‘The event climaxed with a band concert given by The Dragoon Guards, at a sunset ceremony in Imphal Barracks.’
    • ‘The carping began with a Pissarro purchased in 1905 and climaxed with the refusal of Delacroix's Les Naches in 1955.’
    • ‘The evening climaxed with a medley of favourites which satiated fans of his back catalogue.’
    • ‘The feud between these two wrestling legends climaxed with a wild ‘I Quit’ match at Clash of Champions IX.’
    • ‘During one production, his montage-style assault upon the audience's senses climaxed with fireworks planted under their chairs exploding.’
    • ‘This climaxed with the attack on Dresden in February 1945.’
    • ‘He was involved in a first-minute move that climaxed with Healy heading past Davis, but was frustrated to see the effort ruled out for offside.’
    • ‘In February 1998, he delivered a rousing speech in Kiev's Hall of Deputies that climaxed with a plea to privatize the telephone system.’
    • ‘This resulted in a number of spectacular mountain-building events which climaxed about the Early Miocene.’
    • ‘The series will then climax with an exciting live event where the public will determine which of the ten finalists most merits restoration.’
    • ‘The full extent of the conflict between Inah and her mother-in-law climaxed with Inah's sorcery accusation.’
    culminate, peak, come to a climax, reach a pinnacle, come to a crescendo
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    1. 1.1with object Bring (something) to a climax.
      ‘the sentencing climaxed a seven-month trial’
      • ‘The distress off camera contributed to the tenor of Taylor's scenes, especially the halting monologue that climaxes the film.’
      • ‘He turned and crossed in the one movement and O'Flynn, at the near post, volleyed an exquisite goal to climax a compelling performance.’
      • ‘He climaxed his interrogation by asking what was wrong with a team full of foreigners being owned by a foreigner.’
      • ‘It was a lovely affair, climaxing a series of dinners, receptions and gab-fests among old friends.’
      • ‘This climaxed a process that registered a huge failure against the Basdeo Panday leadership record.’
      • ‘More films get unspooled much to the delight of film buffs of the twin cities as the British film festival climaxes this weekend.’
      • ‘And the mother-of-one has been asked to open a garden party which will climax the reunion event on Saturday, July 10.’
      • ‘The engagement climaxed a campaign begun when Confederate army forces entered Kentucky earlier that summer.’
      • ‘Today's 21st and final stage, a 138 kilometre circuit race in the centre of Paris, will also climax a day of celebrations of cycling in the capital.’
      • ‘God that he is, Jupiter has the locution that climaxes the wit pervading the play.’
      • ‘The score climaxed a great comeback by Holycross who looked set for a shock defeat when trailing by six points six minutes from the end.’
      • ‘But for a lot more others, the build-up to the red day begins this weekend with a movie before climaxing it next Tuesday with dinner.’
      • ‘Bands from all over the north filled the Bridgewater Hall with sounds of brass at an all-day festival which climaxed months of hard work for hundreds of musicians.’
      • ‘Middleton climaxed her routine by performing full splits.’
      • ‘Godard begins Contempt with a vision of cinema as movement as order, and he climaxes it with a vision of life as stasis as disorder.’
      • ‘For openers, the Farley Hill presentation climaxing the week-long festival was spread over two days.’
      • ‘Anderson's inclusion in the 15-man squad climaxes a meteoric rise to fame.’
      • ‘Although a bloody battle climaxes the film, one hardly remembers the war scenes.’
      • ‘And they revere anybody who climaxes their complaint with an escape from Washington.’
      • ‘In 1992, the controversial singer climaxed a performance on NBC's Saturday Night Live by crying, ‘Fight the real enemy!’’
    2. 1.2 Have an orgasm.
      • ‘After all, the amount of time it takes a person to climax depends on the partner and the circumstances.’
      • ‘For some reason, I'm having trouble climaxing when we have sex.’
      • ‘There is also evidence that the uptake of sperm is increased when a woman climaxes.’
      • ‘And they're not enjoying their orgasms, or they're finding it very difficult to climax.’
      • ‘Many are unable to climax or only able to climax with the use of a vibrator.’
      • ‘While ejaculation offered proof that a man had reached climax, a female orgasm was confirmed by physiological measurements such as heart rate and anal pressure.’
      • ‘A man may face delayed ejaculation because he is worried that he did not climax last time and is thus distracted from taking pleasure in the sensations.’
      • ‘However, she climaxed several times that first night, and continues to be multi-orgasmic whenever we have sex.’
      • ‘Is my difficulty in climaxing a physical problem or a mental one?’
      • ‘Sipski and Alexander reported that 11 of 25 women with all levels of spinal injury were able to climax.’
      • ‘Some women would say they would like to climax every time, but feel they cannot expect or ask their male partner to satisfy their needs every time.’
      • ‘What if I involuntarily close my eyes while climaxing?’
      • ‘Is it me he is thinking of when he climaxes, or them?’
      have an orgasm, achieve orgasm, reach orgasm
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Mid 16th century (in rhetoric): from late Latin, from Greek klimax ‘ladder, climax’. The sense ‘culmination’ arose in the late 18th century.