Meaning of PEAK in English


I. peak 1 W3 /piːk/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Date: 1500-1600 ; Origin: Perhaps from pike 'mountain, hill' (13-21 centuries) , probably from a Scandinavian language ]

1 . TIME [usually singular] the time when something or someone is best, greatest, highest, most successful etc

at sth’s peak

The British Empire was at its peak in the mid 19th century.

Sales this month have reached a new peak.

Most athletes reach their peak in their mid 20s.

He’s past his peak as a tennis player.

Oil production is down from its peak of two years ago.

at the peak of something

Hotel rooms are difficult to find at the peak of the holiday season.

the peaks and troughs of the US economy (=high and low points)


a) the sharply pointed top of a mountain:

snow-capped mountain peaks

jagged peaks

b) a mountain ⇨ summit :

Mount McKinley is Alaska’s highest peak.

3 . POINT a part that forms a point above a surface or at the top of something:

Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

4 . HAT especially British English the flat curved part of a cap that sticks out in front above your eyes SYN visor American English

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ verbs

▪ be at its peak

The strawberry season is now at its peak.

▪ be past your peak

By the next Olympics, she will be past her peak.

▪ reach a peak ( also hit a peak informal )

The traffic reaches a peak between 5 and 6 pm.


The company’s stock hit a peak of about $23.

▪ fall from a peak

Visitor numbers have fallen from a peak of 1.8 million per year to under 1 million.

■ phrases

▪ peaks and troughs (=high points and low points)

Sales went through a number of peaks and troughs in the last fiscal year.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)


▪ a mountain peak

All around are the spectacular mountain peaks of the Jungfrau region.

▪ the highest peak

Mount McKinley is Alaska’s highest peak.

▪ a snowy/snow-capped peak

The snow-capped peaks of the Sorondo mountain range provide a dramatic backdrop.

▪ a jagged peak (=with several sharp points)

At first all I could see was the hazy black outline of a jagged peak.

▪ a rocky peak

The Castle is situated on a rocky peak.

▪ a distant peak

The mist cleared to reveal the distant peaks across the valley.

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▪ mountain a very high hill:

the highest mountain in Austria

▪ hill an area of land that is higher than the land around it, which is like a mountain but smaller and usually has a rounded top:

We went for a walk in the hills.


The house is surrounded by woods, farmland and gentle hills.

▪ Mount ( also Mt written abbreviation ) used in the names of mountains. Don’t say ‘Fuji Mountain’ – say ‘Mount Fuji’ :

Mount Everest

▪ cliff the steep side of an area of land, often next to the sea:

the white cliffs of Dover

▪ precipice especially literary a very steep and dangerous cliff:

They were standing on the edge of a precipice.

▪ crag a high steep rock or mountain:

An eagle sailed over the high crags.

▪ ridge a long narrow area of high ground, especially at the top of a mountain:

I could see a group of climbers high up on a ridge.

▪ knoll a small round hill:

a grassy knoll

▪ volcano a mountain with a large hole at the top, through which ↑ lava (=hot liquid rock) is sometimes forced out:

the eruption of a volcano

▪ summit the very highest point of a mountain:

the summit of Mt Everest

▪ peak especially literary the top of a mountain:

the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas


a distant peak

▪ range/chain a group of mountains or hills arranged in a line:

the mountain range that is part of the border between Norway and Sweden

▪ foothills a group of smaller hills below a range of high mountains:

the Sierra foothills

II. peak 2 BrE AmE verb [intransitive]

to reach the highest point or level:

Sales peaked in August, then fell sharply.

peak at

Wind speeds peaked at 105 mph yesterday.

III. peak 3 BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

1 . used to talk about the best, highest, or greatest level or amount of something:

Gasoline prices are 14% below the peak level they hit in November.

a shampoo designed to keep your hair in peak condition

If you phone during the day you pay the peak rate for calls.

periods of peak demand for electricity

2 . British English the peak time or period is when the greatest number of people are doing the same thing, using the same service etc:

Extra buses run at peak times.

Hotel prices rise during the peak season.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.