The verb culminate is used to describe a high point or a climactic stage in a process. For example, the goal of a Major League baseball team is to have their season culminate in a World Series victory.

The word culminate derives from the Latin word culminatus, the past participle of culminare, which means "to top, to crown." Don’t be afraid of the Latin: it’s on your side. Knowing the Latin origin can help you remember the meaning of culminate. Use culminate when you are referring to a crowning moment or a final conclusion: “I want my experiments combining strawberry jam with burnt toast to culminate in a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.”

Primary Meanings of culminate

end, especially to reach a final or climactic stage
reach the highest or most decisive point
Full Definitions of culminate

v end, especially to reach a final or climactic stage

“The meeting culminated in a tearful embrace”
crown, top
be the culminating event
Type of:
cease, end, finish, stop, terminate
have an end, in a temporal, spatial, or quantitative sense; either spatial or metaphorical

v bring to a head or to the highest point

“Seurat culminated pointillism”
Type of:
end, terminate
bring to an end or halt

v reach the highest or most decisive point

Type of:
accomplish, achieve, attain, reach
to gain with effort

v reach the highest altitude or the meridian, of a celestial body

Type of:
arrive at, attain, gain, hit, make, reach
reach a destination, either real or abstract

v rise to, or form, a summit

“The helmet culminated in a crest”
Type of:
assume a form or shape

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