"Climactic" or "climatic"?

"Climactic" and "climatic" are only one letter apart, so it will come as little surprise that these words are often confused. But their definitions are not even close in meaning, so it’s important to know the difference.

Climactic means "forming a climax"–the most intense or exciting point of something, as in the sentences:

  • Many audience members cried during the film's climactic scenes.
  • The fair's climactic event, the demolition derby, is drawing big crowds to the fairgrounds.
  • The downside's that after such a climactic event, there's still an hour to go.

Climatic means "relating to climate"–the weather conditions prevailing in an area, as in the sentences:

  • Due to the threat of climatic change, several countries are interested in stepping up antipollution measures.
  • Harsh changes in climatic conditions tend to dehydrate the skin, leaving it dry and quite often scaly.

A good way to remember the difference is to compare the ending sounds of the words "climax" and "climate." The "x" sound in climax becomes the "c" sound in climactic.

  • Climax – climactic
  • Climate – climatic

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