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[an-ti-klahy-maks] /ˌæn tɪˈklaɪ mæks/
an event, conclusion, statement, etc., that is far less important, powerful, or striking than expected.
a descent in power, quality, dignity, etc.; a disappointing, weak, or inglorious conclusion:
After serving as president, he may find life in retirement an anticlimax.
a noticeable or ludicrous descent from lofty ideas or expressions to banalities or commonplace remarks: We were amused by the anticlimax of the company's motto: “For God, for country, and for Acme Gasworks.”.
Origin of anticlimax
First recorded in 1720-30; anti- + climax Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for anticlimax
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Even as she bowed, there came a swift realization that she was facing no anticlimax.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • If there was to be much more of anything, it must have been of anticlimax.

  • After what he had been through, the Black Mass was necessarily an anticlimax.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
  • It would have been seeking an anticlimax to solicit any more in the building.

    The Promised Land Mary Antin
  • It was an anticlimax which made her almost hysterical to contemplate.

    Antony Gray,--Gardener Leslie Moore
  • There was anticlimax in Bear Cat after the guns had ceased to boom.

    The Fighting Edge William MacLeod Raine
  • But we began at the top; and when you have seen the best there is, everything else is anticlimax.

    Peking Dust Ellen N. La Motte
  • Yes, as you say, a Mamie is an anticlimax to one's best endeavours.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
  • Isabel stared back at her; the announcement was an anticlimax.

British Dictionary definitions for anticlimax


a disappointing or ineffective conclusion to a series of events, etc
a sudden change from a serious subject to one that is disappointing or ludicrous
(rhetoric) a descent in discourse from the significant or important to the trivial, inconsequential, etc
Derived Forms
anticlimactic (ˌæntɪklaɪˈmæktɪk) adjective
anticlimactically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anticlimax

"the addition of a particular which suddenly lowers the effect," 1701, from anti- + climax (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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