- a melodramatic or adventure serial in which each installment ends in suspense in order to interest the reader or viewer in the next installment.
- a single installment in such a serial.
- a suspenseful movie, novel, etc.
- the suspenseful ending itself.
- a situation or contest of which the outcome is suspensefully uncertain up to the very last moment: The game was a cliffhanger, but our team finally won.
Origin of cliffhanger
An Americanism dating back to 1935–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cliffhanger
Why not finish hard on a cliffhanger and the next one just jump straight back in?‘No Regrets’: Peter Jackson Says Goodbye to Middle-Earth
December 4, 2014
And, maddeningly, “A” ended on a cliffhanger, just as a potentially explosive confrontation was about to go down.‘The Walking Dead’ Season Finale Review of ‘A’: Rick Grimes Is a Murderer
March 31, 2014
The best thing to happen to it was the aborting of the third season, which effectively ended the series in a cliffhanger.‘True Detective,’ Obsessive-Compulsive Noir, and ‘Twin Peaks’
March 14, 2014
The cliffhanger on the first one was “somebody whacked the erasers.”
I did it on two puzzles where the first one was a cliffhanger and the next week was the interrogation of the kids.
- a situation of imminent disaster usually occurring at the end of each episode of a serialized film
- the serialized film itself
- a situation that is dramatic or uncertain