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 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 In each of these hunts, the anticlimax of the stalk is tempered by awe at the animal’s anatomy. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, "A Boat Hunt for Musk Ox and Caribou in Greenland," 21 Feb. 2020 The feeling of anticlimax was heightened by a shift in the political spotlight toward Iowa, with the first nominating contest of the 2020 election Monday night. Author: Elise Viebeck, Mike Debonis, Robert Costa, Anchorage Daily News, "House prosecutors, Trump’s team offer competing arguments to Senate largely decided on verdict," 4 Feb. 2020 Yet for all the gravity of the moment, there is a palpable sense of anticlimax. Mark Landler, New York Times, "Britain’s Brexit Shrug: Let’s Just Get On With It," 31 Jan. 2020 And the game ended in an anticlimax that gave the Ravens the victory. Robert Morast, San Francisco Chronicle, "Hater’s guide to loving the San Francisco 49ers," 29 Jan. 2020 Pax Persiana If the rise of the Persian emperor was stellar, his end was a grim anticlimax. National Geographic, "History's first superpower sprang from ancient Iran," 6 Jan. 2020 Which is a little disappointing, something of an anticlimax. Adam Green, The New Yorker, "How Derren Brown Remade Mind Reading for Skeptics," 30 Sep. 2019 Get our daily newsletter The mismatch between the demand for photo opportunities and the supply of worked-out trade deals explains both anticlimaxes. The Economist, "America signs a limited trade agreement with Japan," 26 Sep. 2019

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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The first known use of anticlimax was in 1696

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Cite this Entry

“Anticlimax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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How to pronounce anticlimax (audio)

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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