1. The highest point or part; the top.
2. The highest level or degree that can be attained.
a. The highest level, as of government officials.
b. A conference or meeting of high-level leaders, usually called to shape a program of action.
v. sum·mit·ed, sum·mit·ing, sum·mits
To climb to the summit of (a mountain).
To climb to the summit.
[Middle English somet, from Old French sommette, diminutive of som, top, from Latin summum, from neuter of summus, highest; see uper in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: summit, peak1, pinnacle, acme, apex, zenith, climax
These nouns all mean the highest point. Summit denotes the highest level attainable: "His six years with the canal company marked the summit of his career as a company man" (Simon Winchester).
Peak usually refers to the uppermost or most intense point: "It was the peak of summer in the Berkshires" (Saul Bellow).
Pinnacle denotes a towering height, as of achievement: The articulation of the theory of relativity catapulted Einstein to the pinnacle of his profession. Acme refers to an ultimate point, as of perfection: The artist's talents were at their acme when this work was created. Apex is the culminating point: The movie begins with the dictator at the apex of his power. Zenith is the point of highest achievement, most complete development, or greatest power: "Chivalry was then in its zenith" (Henry Hallam).
Climax refers to the point of greatest strength, effect, or intensity that marks the endpoint of an ascending process: The government's collapse was the climax of a series of constitutional crises.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.