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

The visual drama compensates for the anticlimax of the building’s main entry, which is located off a parking lot on the building’s rear side. Steven Litt,, "New Cuyahoga County libraries are spirited variations on themes of service, light, sense of place – Steven Litt," 21 July 2019 In such an instance, the issue may not only be that the audience has been robbed of drama, that climax has been swapped out for anticlimax. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "The World Cup’s Instant-Replay Problem," 5 July 2019 Inevitably, the second-chance try goes in, providing the height of anticlimax. Bruce Jenkins,, "World Cup’s VAR replay system tarnishes a great event," 25 June 2019 That could make the new tech board an anticlimax, just like Shenzhen’s ChiNext board and Beijing’s New Third Board, an over-the-counter market. Shen Hong, WSJ, "China Counters Selloff by Cutting Markets Some Slack," 24 Jan. 2019 This was an anticlimax that wanted to be an epic—the crowd in Death Valley did its best to rowdy it up, with the on-field noise meter at one point registering a jackhammer-like 110 decibels. Jason Gay, WSJ, "All Hail Our Alabama Football Overlords," 4 Nov. 2018 The first try is often (and rightly) an awkward, anxious, and low-key painful anticlimax. Karley Sciortino, Vogue, "Is There a “Right” Way to Lose Your Virginity?," 19 Oct. 2018 Each episode ends up as an extended joke about how the superhero genre works, with every hideous, terrifying protagonist defeated in a quick overdetermined anticlimax. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "The best superhero stories admit that superheroes are ridiculous," 11 July 2018 Because Justify’s triumph follows the drought-ending Triple Crown of American Pharoah by only three years, the achievement was liable to leave some spectators with a sense of anticlimax. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Triple Crown winner Justify makes it look easy in Belmont victory," 9 June 2018

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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Statistics for anticlimax

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for anticlimax

The first known use of anticlimax was in 1696

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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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Comments on anticlimax

What made you want to look up anticlimax? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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