[ 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.”

Nearby words

  1. anticipatory assimilation,
  2. anticity,
  3. anticlastic,
  4. anticlerical,
  5. anticlimactic,
  6. anticlinal,
  7. anticline,
  8. anticlinorium,
  9. anticlockwise,
  10. anticlotting

Origin of anticlimax

First recorded in 1720–30; anti- + climax Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for anticlimax

British Dictionary definitions for anticlimax


/ (ˌæntɪˈklaɪmæks) /


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 Formsanticlimactic (ˌæntɪklaɪˈmæktɪk), adjectiveanticlimactically, 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

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