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or dénouement

[dey-noo-mahn] /ˌdeɪ nuˈmɑ̃/
the final resolution of the intricacies of a plot, as of a drama or novel.
the place in the plot at which this occurs.
the outcome or resolution of a doubtful series of occurrences.
Origin of denouement
1745-55; < French: literally, an untying, equivalent to dénouer to untie, Old French desnoer (des- de- + noer to knot < Latin nōdāre, derivative of nōdus knot) + -ment -ment
3. solution, conclusion, end, upshot. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for denouement
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The only general feeling was that a denouement was approaching.

  • Such a denouement appeared to them horribly and cruelly ridiculous.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • I knew what to think of it all, and I waited for the 'denouement'.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • If there is a denouement, why do you beat about the bush so much?

    Louise de la Valliere Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • The interest is cumulative, and the denouement of the story in no wise disappointing.

    The Copper Princess Kirk Munroe
  • To Bobby there was no logic at all in the denouement to this swift, exciting drama.

    Greyfriars Bobby Eleanor Atkinson
British Dictionary definitions for denouement


  1. the final clarification or resolution of a plot in a play or other work
  2. the point at which this occurs
final outcome; solution
Word Origin
C18: from French, literally: an untying, from dénouer to untie, from Old French desnoer, from des-de- + noer to tie, knot, from Latin nōdāre, from nōdus a knot; see node
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 denouement

1752, from French dénouement "an untying" (of plot), from dénouer "untie" (Old French desnouer) from des- "un-, out" (see dis-) + nouer "to tie, knot," from Latin nodus "a knot," from PIE *ned- "to bind, tie" (see net (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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denouement in Culture
dénouement [(day-nooh-mahnn)]

The solution or outcome of the plot of a play or novel: “In the dénouement of many tragedies, the main character dies.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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