de·​noue·​ment | \ ˌdā-ˌnü-ˈmäⁿ How to pronounce denouement (audio) , dā-ˈnü-ˌmä \
variants: or less commonly dénouement

Definition of denouement

1 : the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work In the denouement, the two lovers commit suicide.
2 : the outcome of a complex sequence of events

Examples of denouement in a Sentence

In the play's denouement, the two lovers kill themselves.
Recent Examples on the Web The disinformation warning was, in some ways, a fitting denouement to a two-week-long battle between Krebs, the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and his boss in the Oval Office. Garrett M. Graff, Wired, "Firing Christopher Krebs Crosses a Line—Even for Trump," 17 Nov. 2020 During the course of the contentious U.S. presidential campaign, and its messy denouement, Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have taken steps that would have been unthinkable four years ago. Emily Glazer, WSJ, "Social-Media Companies Took an Aggressive Stance During the Election. Will It Continue?," 11 Nov. 2020 The denouement of 2020 is soap opera-esque at best and full-blown apocalyptic at worst — and there is literally no indication of how the last two months of the year will pan out. Sumiko Wilson,, "You Have 10 New Netflix Canada Treats To Watch This Weekend," 8 Oct. 2020 Walking, but with words Strolling down the street with your nose in a book can be a physical challenge (don’t trip during that thriller’s denouement!). National Geographic, "How libraries are writing a new chapter during the pandemic," 26 Sep. 2020 Hannah keeps her readers on their toes through numerous twists and turns, right up until the trademark drawing-room denouement. Sophie Hannah, Star Tribune, "Review: 'The Killings at Kingfisher Hill,' by Sophie Hannah," 11 Sep. 2020 Davis scored the Lakers’ final 10 points — the denouement the 3-pointer as time expired. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Lakers' Anthony Davis channels Kobe Bryant for biggest moment of his career," 21 Sep. 2020 According to Curtice, Britain’s economic dominance and status as an imperial powerhouse began to fade around the same time as the conflict’s denouement, limiting the benefits Scotland reaped as a member of the union. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Not-So-Brief History of Scottish Independence," 30 Jan. 2020 The Adoration of the Shepherds is surreal and a denouement. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "El Greco Sizzles in Chicago, in Paris, Not So Much," 15 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'denouement.' 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 denouement

1705, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for denouement

French dénouement, literally, untying, from Middle French desnouement, from desnouer to untie, from Old French desnoer, from des- de- + noer to tie, from Latin nodare, from nodus knot — more at node

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Time Traveler for denouement

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The first known use of denouement was in 1705

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Last Updated

23 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Denouement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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How to pronounce denouement (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of denouement

formal : the final part of something (such as a book, a play, or a series of events)

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