[ an-ti-klahy-maks ]
See synonyms for anticlimax on
  1. an event, conclusion, statement, etc., that is far less important, powerful, or striking than expected.

  2. 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.

  1. 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

Words Nearby anticlimax Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use anticlimax in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for anticlimax


/ (ˌæntɪˈklaɪmæks) /

  1. a disappointing or ineffective conclusion to a series of events, etc

  2. a sudden change from a serious subject to one that is disappointing or ludicrous

  1. rhetoric a descent in discourse from the significant or important to the trivial, inconsequential, etc

Derived forms of anticlimax

  • 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