Climactic vs. climatic

Climactic is the adjective corresponding to climax. Climatic is the adjective corresponding to climate. The antonym of climactic is anticlimactic (one word, no hyphen). Anticlimatic could theoretically work as a word (to describe someone or something that opposes climate), but it’s usually just a misspelling of anticlimactic.


The misuse of climactic in place of climatic and vice versa is common—for example:


[H]e was there to get noticed and add some spice to what would have been an otherwise anti-climatic political exit. [Los Angeles Times]

Corley gave a touching performance in Falstaff’s climatic scene when the King banished him just after coronation. [Pegasus News]

According to data from the NOAA National Climactic Data Center, there has been above-average fire activity in parts of Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. [Huffington Post]

And here are a few examples of the words used well:

Other than any potential climatic impact, the effects of reduced sunspots would have little direct impact on humans. [Sydney Morning Herald]

It’s only when we reach the final, climactic standoff that First Class begins to show its true potential. [CBC]

The second act was one long, anticlimactic letdown. [Guardian]


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  1. Dell Cousins says:

    Man, using these words incorrectly is almost as annoying as the rampant use of “continuous” when “contiguous” is meant.

  2. writersbloq says:

    So I’m right! Okay. Thanks for settling the debate I was having with myself.

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