[zee-nith or, esp. British, zen-ith]
the point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer. Compare nadir.
a highest point or state; culmination.

1350–1400; Middle English cenith < Medieval Latin < Old Spanish zenit, scribal error for zemt < Arabic samt road, incorrectly read as senit by medieval scribes (compare Arabic samt ar-rās road above (over) one's head, the opposite of nadir)

nadir, zenith.

2. apex, summit.

1, 2. nadir.
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World English Dictionary
zenith (ˈzɛnɪθ, US ˈziːnɪθ)
1.  astronomy the point on the celestial sphere vertically above an observer
2.  the highest point; peak; acme: the zenith of someone's achievements
[C17: from French cenith, from Medieval Latin, from Old Spanish zenit, based on Arabic samt, as in samt arrās path over one's head, from samt way, path + al the + rās head]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from O.Fr. cenith (Fr. zénith), from M.L. cenit, senit, bungled scribal transliteration of Arabic samt "road, path," abbreviation of samt ar-ras, lit. "the way over the head." Letter -m- misread as -ni-. The M.L. word may as well be influenced by the rough agreement of the Arabic term
with classical L. semita "sidetrack, side path" (notion of "thing going off to the side"), from se- "apart" + *mi-ta-, suffixed zero-grade form of PIE base *mei- "to change" (see mutable)
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
zenith   (zē'nĭth)  Pronunciation Key 
The point on the celestial sphere that is directly above the observer (90 degrees above the celestial horizon). Compare nadir.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
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