Words sometimes confused – climatic and climactic by Angela Caldin
One letter makes a big difference
Climatic is an adjective which means relating to climate and climate refers to the average atmospheric conditions that prevail in a given region making it generally cold and wet or hot and dry, for example.
- There is still some scepticism about the claim that our carbon footprints are on course to lead to climatic extremes.
- The climatic conditions led to the heaviest rainfall for many years which caused extensive flooding.
- Drought and famine in some African countries can be attributed in part to climatic changes.
Climactic is also an adjective which is used to describe things that involve or feel like a climax: the high point or most intense part of a story, movie, play, song or anything else that might occur to you. Climactic is often used in the negative: anticlimactic, when there’s a build-up to something that falls short.
- In the climactic scene of the movie, the aliens land their spaceship and ET is able to walk up the ramp to be taken home.
- The village was devastated by the floods so that many people had to be evacuated by boat with a final climactic rescue by helicopter of two people from their rooftop.
- Many people found the ending of the latest series of Line of Duty to be disappointing and anticlimactic.