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 denouement of the sip is a lingering finish that is pleasantly warm. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 4 June 2021 Perhaps the reaction comes from people are desperate for the insight, the revelation, the denouement. Erik Sherman, Forbes, 3 June 2021 The game was littered with quick time events, and its denouement included fighting a zombie Tyrannosaurus rex with a Jeep. Gene Park, Washington Post, 7 May 2021 That such a denouement is possible is testament, first, to our tendency to assume that decline — soccer as a whole, in fact — runs in straight lines, to reverse-engineer an explanation for every event. New York Times, 9 Apr. 2021 Paltrow previously opened up to about the denouement of her acting career for our February 2020 cover story. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 Apr. 2021 Although the situation had reached a denouement, said Bessma Momani, a professor of international relations at Waterloo University in Ontario, the fight had caused some damage to the monarchy’s image. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2021 To its credit, its denouement makes that gamble pay off. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2021 The interview is a damaging denouement to what could have been one of the monarchy’s great modernizing acts, say analysts. Max Colchester, WSJ, 9 Mar. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near denouement






de novo


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Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Denouement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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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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