Nadir Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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The last thing anyone wants to do is hit rock bottom, but sometimes despair is a good thing. In fact, according to Dean Koontz, “Despair can be the nadir of one life and the starting point of an ascent into another, better one.”

That said, what exactly does the word nadir (ˈnāˌdir/ˈneɪˌdɪr/ˈnādər) mean, and where did it come from? We’ll tell you. Read on as we explore this interesting term to uncover its definition, origin, usage, and more. 

What Is the Definition of Nadir?

According to the Collins Dictionary, the nadir of something — such as an individual’s career or the history of an organization — is its worst time. In other words, nadir can be defined as the point at which something is at its lowest level or value.

Our word of the day can also be used in astronomy to describe the point at which the moon or sun is directly below you — on the opposite side of the earth. Any celestial body (for example, the sun), is said to be at its nadir when it is at its lowest point. 

Though nadir is most commonly used today to describe the worst point in someone’s career or life, nadir was first used purely in astrology to reference the opposite of zenith (AKA the point of the celestial sphere directly opposite to the zenith). 

Additionally, when looking into all the different meanings behind nadir, you may run into the founder of the Afsharid dynasty of Iran, Nadir Shah Afshar. Nadir was one of the most pre-eminent rulers in Iranian history and ruled as the shah of Iran until 1747.

What Is the Etymology of Nadir?

The Middle English nadir, has Arabic roots and was first used in astronomy in the late 14c., to reference an imaginary point that was vertically opposite to the zenith of the sun. 

Nadir is a derivative of both the Medieval Latin nadir and the Arabic nazīr. That said, nadir was not used to reference the lowest point until 1793. 


What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Nadir?

If you ask us, one of the best ways to truly understand the meaning behind a new word is to review its synonyms and antonyms. 

In case you’re in need of a quick refresher from your grade school English class, a synonym is a term or expression that has the same — or nearly the same — meaning as another term or expression. 

An antonym, on the other side of the coin, is a term with a meaning that’s opposite to the meaning of another term. 


  • Bottom
  • Base
  • Depth
  • Bedrock 
  • Low watermark
  • Lowest level
  • Zero level
  • Rock bottom
  • Depths
  • Zero
  • Floor
  • Pits 
  • Deepest part
  • All-time low
  • Lowest point
  • Record low
  • Basement 
  • Pit
  • Bowels
  • Core 
  • As low as one can get
  • Innermost reaches
  • Furthest part
  • Belly
  • Guts
  • Void
  • Chasm 
  • Remotest area
  • Bottomless depth
  • Lowest ebb
  • Slough of despair
  • The bottom
  • The lowest
  • Bathos
  • Trough 
  • Slump 
  • The depths
  • The pits
  • Endpoint
  • Cut off point
  • Extremity 
  • Low 
  • Depression 
  • Farthest point
  • Furthest point
  • Lower limit
  • Bottom level
  • Bare minimum
  • Smallest amount
  • Pessimum 
  • Minimum number
  • Required number


  • Tip top
  • High water mark
  • Top 
  • Zenith 
  • Acme
  • Summit 
  • High point
  • Highest point
  • High noon
  • Apex
  • Culmination
  • Crown 
  • Crowning moment 
  • Crowning point
  • Capstone
  • Peak
  • Finale 
  • Highest part
  • Highest level
  • Middle
  • Aid
  • Base
  • Pinnacle
  • Beginning
  • Blessing
  • Boon
  • Help
  • Prosperity 
  • Peace
  • Success 
  • Best part
  • Epitome 
  • Spire
  • Cap
  • Brow
  • Prime 
  • Culminating point
  • Good luck
  • Crest
  • Crescendo
  • Vertex
  • Apogee 
  • Good fortune

How Can You Use Nadir in a Sentence?

By now, you likely understand that nadir can refer to someone’s lowest point — but do you know how to use it in a sentence? Not to worry, here are a few example sentences to help: 

At the nadir of my career, I made the tough decision to pick myself up and not quit — despite how badly I would have liked to.”

How can any one person be that forgetful? Theo not only forgot his wallet at home, but he also left his keys in his car when trying to locate said wallet. This will definitely go down in the books as one of the most nadir days in his life.

She seriously reached an all-new personal nadir this afternoon, which I’m sure surprised even her.

You missed a doozy of a lecture today; we talked all about Nādir Shāh and how he created an empire that quickly spread from the Caucasus Mountains all the way to the Indus River.

Amber hit the nadir of her life after losing her job as well as custody of her two kids.

What Are Translations of Nadir?

If you’re planning on traveling overseas, you might come across a time when you need to use the word nadir. That said, here are some common translations of nadir:

  • Vietnamese — điểm thấp nhất
  • American English — nadir 
  • Turkish — en düşük nokta
  • Ukrainian — найнижча точка
  • Russian — самая низкая точка
  • Brazilian Portuguese — nadir 
  • Swedish — lägsta punkt
  • British English — nadir
  • Greek — χαμηλότερο σημείο
  • Finnish — alin kohta
  • Dutch — laagste punt
  • Danish — laveste punkt
  • Chinese (simplified) — 最低点
  • European Spanish — punto más bajo 
  • French — point le plus bas 
  • German — Tiefste Punkt 
  • Italian — periodo peggiore 
  • Japanese — どん底
  • Korean — 최악의 순간
  • European Portuguese — nadir 
  • Croatian — najniža točka
  • Czech — nejnižší bod
  • Bulgarian — най-ниска точка
  • Arabic — أدنى نقطة
  • Afrikaans — laagste punt
  • Spanish — punto más bajo 
  • Thai — จุดต่ำสุด


Our word of the day is most commonly used to reference the lowest point of anything — it’s essentially an extreme state of distress or hardship. Though, don’t forget that nadir additionally still holds true to its original meaning, the opposite of zenith. 


Nadir definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

Zenith & Nadir |

nadir | Definition & Astronomy | Britannica