|Ladder to Heaven|
(image by fdecomite)
Noun & verb. Mid-16th century.
[Late Latin climax from Greek klimax ladder, climax.]
A1 noun. Rhetoric. (A figure chracterized by) the arrangement of propositions or ideas
in order of increasing importance, force, or effectiveness of expression. M16
A2 noun. obsolete. An ascending series or scale. M-L18
A3(a) noun. The highest point reached; a peak of intensity or interest; a culmination. L18
A3(b) noun. The last or highest term of a rhetorical climax. M19
A3(c) noun. Ecology. The final stage in a succession, at which a plant community reaches a state of equilibrium;
a community that has attained this state. Frequently attributive. E20
A3(d) noun. A sexual orgasm. E20
B verb intrans. & trans. Come or bring to a climax. M19
Etymology can paint such marvellous pictures, imbuing words with even deeper shades of meaning and fascination. As it is with climax, which comes from the Greek klimax meaning 'ladder', perfectly portraying the ascending process of climbing toward some culmination, some goal, which is at the very pinnacle of all that came before it. And, as an added point of trivia, climax as a synonym for orgasm has only been used since around 1900, a term encouraged by the scientist and birth-control pioneer Marie Stopes as a more publicly acceptable word than orgasm.
|Marie Stopes (1880-1958) working in her lab|
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