cliff-hang·​er ˈklif-ˌhaŋ-ər How to pronounce cliff-hanger (audio)
: an adventure serial or melodrama
especially : one presented in installments each ending in suspense
: a contest whose outcome is in doubt up to the very end
broadly : a suspenseful situation
cliff-hanging adjective

Examples of cliff-hanger in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Season 2 ended with a dramatic cliff-hanger as the show grapples with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to play some of the real life fears and tensions from March 2020. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 26 Aug. 2023 There’s so much that needs to be answered after last season’s numerous cliff-hangers. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, 16 July 2023 After the fifth episode left viewers with a major cliff-hanger, episode six kicked off with a quick resolution: Bryan and Sarah Baeumler revealed that Kelsey and Ryan of Team Taniya won the $3,000 prize for the exterior renovation. Katie Bowlby, Country Living, 10 July 2023 The first season of Shrinking ends with a literal cliff-hanger. Seija Rankin, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 June 2023 Of course, that’s no surprise to anyone who has seen Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, which, No. 1, absolutely rocks, and, No. 2 (no spoilers), ends on quite the cliff-hanger. Vulture, 5 June 2023 Their journey is the heart of 1923, and season 1 ends on a truly heart-wrenching cliff-hanger for the couple. Katie Bowlby, Country Living, 16 Apr. 2023 Many of those shows remained indebted to radio, to two-dimensional melodrama, to clichés and cliff-hangers, with characters who resembled nobody who existed in real life. Andrew O’Hagan, The New York Review of Books, 2 Mar. 2023 The series ended on a cliff-hanger for the Gamache character (Molina), whose life was on the line as his team raced to find him. Amber Dowling, Variety, 13 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cliff-hanger.' 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

circa 1931, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cliff-hanger was circa 1931

Dictionary Entries Near cliff-hanger

Cite this Entry

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

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