or dé·noue·ment



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

Synonyms for denouement Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for denouement

Contemporary Examples of denouement

Historical Examples of denouement

  • Doubtless his mother had come to learn what mischief had been wrought, and to see if the denouement was not at last at hand.

    Doctor Pascal

    Emile Zola

  • He imagined the denouement, with a growing enjoyment of his vantage-point as the game advanced.

    The Voice on the Wire

    Eustace Hale Ball

  • Again the banker meditated a few moments, and Jack sat silent, wondering what the denouement to the strange story would prove.

    Two Wonderful Detectives

    Harlan Page Halsey

  • There had been no such case, client or denouement but he continued unconscious of this fact in his desire to tell the story.


    Ben Hecht

  • Then laughter, story, and denouement were all drowned in a tumultuous crash of music.

    The Masquerader

    Katherine Cecil Thurston

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
final outcome; solution

Word Origin for denouement

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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for denouement



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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.