• synonyms


or dé·noue·ment

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  1. the final resolution of the intricacies of a plot, as of a drama or novel.
  2. the place in the plot at which this occurs.
  3. the outcome or resolution of a doubtful series of occurrences.
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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


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for denouement


dnouement (French denumɑ̃)

    1. the final clarification or resolution of a plot in a play or other work
    2. the point at which this occurs
  1. final outcome; solution
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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

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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

denouement in Culture



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

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