1. The point of greatest intensity or force in an ascending series or progression; a culmination. See Synonyms at summit.
a. A series of statements or ideas in an ascending order of rhetorical force or intensity.
b. The final statement in such a series.
a. A moment of great or culminating intensity in a narrative or drama, especially the conclusion of a crisis.
b. The turning point in a plot or dramatic action.
4. See orgasm.
5. Ecology A climax community.
tr. & intr.v. cli·maxed, cli·max·ing, cli·max·es
To bring to or reach a climax.
[Latin clīmax, rhetorical climax, from Greek klīmax, ladder; see klei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.