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[klahy-maks] /ˈklaɪ mæks/
the highest or most intense point in the development or resolution of something; culmination:
His career reached its climax when he was elected president.
(in a dramatic or literary work) a decisive moment that is of maximum intensity or is a major turning point in a plot.
  1. a figure consisting of a series of related ideas so arranged that each surpasses the preceding in force or intensity.
  2. the last term or member of this figure.
an orgasm.
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)
to bring to or reach a climax.
1580-90; < Late Latin < Greek klîmax ladder, akin to klī́nein to lean
Related forms
hyperclimax, noun
unclimaxed, adjective
1. summit, zenith, acme, apex. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for climax
  • 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.
  • Ménage gave me great idea for the climax of the movie.
  • The film's climax is a crescendo of mortal suspense that also includes elements of farce.
  • And the tournament game that forms the climax is a dilly, even though it is contrived.
  • Their climax is a bit overdrawn and there are a few vague spots along the way.
British Dictionary definitions for climax


the most intense or highest point of an experience or of a series of events the party was the climax of the week
a decisive moment in a dramatic or other work
a rhetorical device by which a series of sentences, clauses, or phrases are arranged in order of increasing intensity
(ecology) the stage in the development of a community during which it remains stable under the prevailing environmental conditions
Also called sexual climax (esp in referring to women) another word for orgasm
to reach or bring to a climax
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin, from Greek klimax ladder
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for 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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climax in Medicine

climax cli·max (klī'māks')

  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 Article for climax

climax community

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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