denouement

noun
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

That terrible denouement was perfectly foreseeable, but Mr. ElBaradei and others were blinded by their hatred of the Islamists and their faith in the army. James Traub, WSJ, "‘Into the Hands of the Soldiers’ Review: Arab Spring, Egypt’s Fall," 14 Aug. 2018 Teamwork, competition, obstacles to be overcome, and the ultimate high-stakes denouement. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "See Science Fair even if you’ve never entered one in your life," 16 Sep. 2018 After all, his character’s demise is the denouement of the first season. Alex Bhattacharji, WSJ, "Alexander Skarsgård in His Element," 6 Sep. 2018 And when dusk arrived and English tennis fans could finally turn their undivided attention to the denouement of England’s World Cup letdown against Croatia, only Nadal was still in the tournament. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "On a Wild Day at Wimbledon, Federer Exits and Nadal Hangs On," 11 July 2018 Is the denouement of the book as satisfying as its opening? Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "Far From the Shore, a Happy Couple Takes a Turn for the Worse," 11 June 2018 Choosing to give Jeannie such a pivotal role is almost as rewarding as the denouement. Karin Slaughter, chicagotribune.com, "What Stephen King gets right - and wrong - in 'The Outsider'," 23 May 2018 But the likelier and somewhat darker denouement may be exhaustion, and a good deal of wreckage. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "Political Harassment Is for the Birds," 6 July 2018 That play was sharply intelligent but emotionally muddled, particularly in its denouement. F. Kathleen Foley, latimes.com, "In Anna Ziegler's 'Delicate Ship,' rough seas for a love triangle," 26 Jan. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near denouement

denotatum

denote

denotive

denouement

denounce

de novo

Denpasar

Statistics for denouement

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for denouement

The first known use of denouement was in 1705

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More Definitions for denouement

denouement

noun

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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