an·​ti·​cli·​max | \ ˌan-tē-ˈklī-ˌmaks, ˌan-ˌtī- How to pronounce anticlimax (audio) \

Definition of anticlimax

1 : the usually sudden transition in discourse from a significant idea to a trivial or ludicrous idea also : an instance of this transition
2 : 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 If the Moonlight–La La Land mix-up was the ultimate Hollywood ending, this was the opposite: a damp squib of an anticlimax and a colossal own goal on the part of Soderbergh and his team. Nate Jones, Vulture, "Why Anthony Hopkins Won Best Actor," 26 Apr. 2021 Though Hopkins' performance in The Father has been widely acclaimed, there was a feeling of intense anticlimax when his win was announced, as a quick glance at Twitter will attest. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chadwick Boseman Loses Best Actor to Anthony Hopkins in a Huge Oscars Upset," 26 Apr. 2021 The sense that the franchise was an anticlimax, even a disappointment, was widespread among those who had taken part in the cause, like Virginia Woolf. Deborah Cohen, The Atlantic, "The Real Legacy of the Suffrage Movement," 20 Dec. 2020 In the end — and the postelection standoff instigated by Mr. Trump and his party is truly nearing its end — the president’s attack on the election wheezed to an anticlimax. Alexander Burns, New York Times, "Trump Stress-Tested the Election System, and the Cracks Showed," 24 Nov. 2020 For all the menace and mystique around hacking tools, actually shutting one down is a bit of an anticlimax. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "The Unsinkable Maddie Stone, Google's Bug-Hunting Badass," 25 Oct. 2020 May 8, 1945, the day Germany surrendered—was something of an anticlimax, Maddocks says. Robert Clark, National Geographic, "‘I suppose they figured if I could understand economic theory, I could crack code.’," 6 May 2020 Though most of them would probably regard his move to P.S.G. as a bit of an anticlimax, too. Rory Smith, New York Times, "The Perils of Having Your Dreams Come True," 21 Feb. 2020 Homecoming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is more often an anticlimax. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Evacuated from poorest corners of globe, Peace Corps Volunteers return to America remade by pandemic," 26 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anticlimax.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anticlimax

1696, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for anticlimax

Time Traveler

The first known use of anticlimax was in 1696

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Statistics for anticlimax

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anticlimax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for anticlimax



English Language Learners Definition of anticlimax

: something that is much less exciting or dramatic than it was expected to be : a dull or disappointing ending or result

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