The noun apotheosis traditionally means (1) deification, (2) glorification, and (3) an exalted or glorified example. But in practical usage, the word is almost always used as a synonym of apex, quintessence, or culmination. This sense appears even in publications with high editorial standards—for example:
Obama could do that in the presidential campaign because he was the thrilling apotheosis of the multi-century struggle against racism. [Washington Post]
Bagshaw is the apotheosis of the hack journalist, omni-competent in mediocrity of all kinds … [Independent]
Similar examples abound, and meanwhile we can’t find a single instance of apotheosis used in the traditional sense. This suggests the original definitions of the word may be dying, and that apotheosis now means culmination. The original apotheosis is a good word, though, so careful writers should perhaps keep fighting for it.
Let us know if you can find any instances of apotheosis used correctly (according to the conventional definition).
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