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[pin-uh-kuh l] /ˈpɪn ə kəl/
a lofty peak.
the highest or culminating point, as of success, power, fame, etc.:
the pinnacle of one's career.
any pointed, towering part or formation, as of rock.
Architecture. a relatively small, upright structure, commonly terminating in a gable, a pyramid, or a cone, rising above the roof or coping of a building, or capping a tower, buttress, or other projecting architectural member.
verb (used with object), pinnacled, pinnacling.
to place on or as on a pinnacle.
to form a pinnacle on; crown.
1300-50; Middle English pinacle < Middle French < Late Latin pinnāculum gable, equivalent to Latin pinn(a) raised part of a parapet, literally, wing, feather (see pinna) + -āculum; see tabernacle
2. apex, acme, summit, zenith. 3. needle.
2. base. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pinnacles
  • All three served at the pinnacles of the old economy.
  • Divers in these waters swoop and hover in flooded gorges, alongside vertical walls and pinnacles that soar hundreds of feet.
  • Many descend on trails that give hikers and horseback riders a close look at the fluted walls and sculptured pinnacles.
  • It contains tall granite pinnacles and canyons for hiking and climbing.
  • Named for the docile leopard sharks that live there, the reef is centered on three large pinnacles of rock.
  • One-hundred-foot visibility among the vast pinnacles of the bay is common.
  • In the afternoons, their twin pinnacles are lost in the monsoon rain clouds.
  • The pinnacles form when salty water rises up from underlying muds.
British Dictionary definitions for pinnacles


the highest point or level, esp of fame, success, etc
a towering peak, as of a mountain
a slender upright structure in the form of a cone, pyramid, or spire on the top of a buttress, gable, or tower
verb (transitive)
to set on or as if on a pinnacle
to furnish with a pinnacle or pinnacles
to crown with a pinnacle
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Late Latin pinnāculum a peak, from Latin pinna wing
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 pinnacles



c.1300, "mountain, peak, promontory," from Old French pinacle "top, gable" (13c.) and directly from Late Latin pinnaculum "peak, pinnacle, gable," diminutive of Latin pinna "peak, point," (see pin (n.1)). Figurative use is attested from c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pinnacles in the Bible

a little wing, (Matt. 4:5; Luke 4:9). On the southern side of the temple court was a range of porches or cloisters forming three arcades. At the south-eastern corner the roof of this cloister was some 300 feet above the Kidron valley. The pinnacle, some parapet or wing-like projection, was above this roof, and hence at a great height, probably 350 feet or more above the valley.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for pinnacles


in architecture, vertical ornament of pyramidal or conical shape, crowning a buttress, spire, or other architectural member. A pinnacle is distinguished from a finial by its greater size and complexity and from a tower or spire by its smaller size and subordinate architectural role. A tower may be decorated with pinnacles, each one capped by a finial.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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