ˌan-ˌtī- How to pronounce anticlimax (audio)
: the usually sudden transition in discourse from a significant idea to a trivial or ludicrous idea
also : an instance of this transition
: an event, period, or outcome that is strikingly less important or dramatic than expected

Examples of anticlimax in a Sentence

The last chapter of the book was an anticlimax. The movie ended in anticlimax.
Recent Examples on the Web Not merely failure but ridiculous anticlimax, of itself of an almost epic kind. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 12 Sep. 2023 As the room emptied, Mace weighed his victory against its anticlimax. Dan Greene, The New Yorker, 12 June 2023 But once that happens, Rodriguez boxes himself into a corner, with nowhere to go besides a sentimental anticlimax. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 May 2023 Here, wrapping with an anticlimax seems to be Aster’s idea of a joke. Peter Debruge, Variety, 10 Apr. 2023 The rest was an anticlimax. Rory Smith, New York Times, 14 Apr. 2023 The comic anticlimax is notable because Ms. Yarmysh is the press secretary to Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who survived a poisoning attempt in 2020 and is currently locked away in a high-security prison following a sham embezzlement trial. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 24 Feb. 2023 That meant the hearing was a bit of an anticlimax. Greg Moran, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Sep. 2022 The home page is an anticlimax of a greeting, stale and still except for the bare-bones GIF of a small, perpetually running blue figure that serves as the site’s logo. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 3 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'anticlimax.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1696, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of anticlimax was in 1696

Dictionary Entries Near anticlimax

Cite this Entry

“Anticlimax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


an·​ti·​cli·​max ˌant-i-ˈklī-ˌmaks How to pronounce anticlimax (audio)
: a shift in writing or speaking from an important idea to an unimportant or silly one
: an event, result, or ending that is strikingly less important than expected
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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