v. cul·mi·nat·ed, cul·mi·nat·ing, cul·mi·nates
a. To reach the highest point or degree; climax: habitual antagonism that culminated in open hostility.
b. To come to completion; end: Years of waiting culminated in a tearful reunion.
2. Astronomy To reach the highest point above an observer's horizon. Used of stars and other celestial bodies.
To bring to the point of greatest intensity or to completion; climax: The ceremony culminated a long week of preparation.
[Late Latin culmināre, culmināt-, from Latin culmen, culmin-, summit; see kel-2 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.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.