climax

[klahy-maks]
noun
1.
the highest or most intense point in the development or resolution of something; culmination: His career reached its climax when he was elected president.
2.
(in a dramatic or literary work) a decisive moment that is of maximum intensity or is a major turning point in a plot.
3.
Rhetoric.
a.
a figure consisting of a series of related ideas so arranged that each surpasses the preceding in force or intensity.
b.
the last term or member of this figure.
4.
an orgasm.
5.
Ecology. the stable and self-perpetuating end stage in the ecological succession or evolution of a plant and animal community.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
6.
to bring to or reach a climax.

Origin:
1580–90; < Late Latin < Greek klîmax ladder, akin to klī́nein to lean

hyperclimax, noun
unclimaxed, adjective


1. summit, zenith, acme, apex.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
climax (ˈklaɪmæks)
 
n
1.  the most intense or highest point of an experience or of a series of events: the party was the climax of the week
2.  a decisive moment in a dramatic or other work
3.  a rhetorical device by which a series of sentences, clauses, or phrases are arranged in order of increasing intensity
4.  ecology the stage in the development of a community during which it remains stable under the prevailing environmental conditions
5.  (esp in referring to women) another word for orgasm Also called: sexual climax
 
vb
6.  to reach or bring to a climax
 
[C16: from Late Latin, from Greek klimax ladder]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

climax
1589, from L.L. climax (gen. climacis), from Gk. klimax "propositions rising in effectiveness," lit. "ladder," from base of klinein "to slope," from PIE base *klei- "to lean" (see lean (v.)). The rhetorical meaning evolved in Eng. through "series of steps by which a goal is
achieved," to "escalating steps," to (1789) "high point," a usage credited by the OED "to popular ignorance." The verb is 1835, from the noun. The meaning "orgasm" is first recorded 1918, apparently coined by birth-control pioneer Marie Stopes, as a more accessible word than orgasm.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

climax cli·max (klī'māks')
n.

  1. The height of a disease; the stage of greatest severity.

  2. See orgasm.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

climax

in ecology, the final stage of biotic succession attainable by a plant community in an area under the environmental conditions present at a particular time. For example, cleared forests in the eastern United States progress from fields, to old fields (with colonizing trees and shrubs), to forests of these early colonists, and finally to climax communities of longer-lived tree species. The species composition of the climax community remains the same because all the species present successfully reproduce themselves and invading species fail to gain a foothold. Because climatic changes, ecological processes, and evolutionary processes cause changes in the environment over very long periods of time, the climax stage is not completely permanent

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The climax species take much longer to recover, but it is the climax species
  that produce the stable ecosystem.
While the rest of the world was watching the scene in the square, the colonel
  who authorized its climax was blind to the event.
Another much-wrestled-with aspect was the emotional climax.
As the story unspools he plants three tantalizing details that point it toward
  a melodramatic climax.
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