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Word of the Day
Sunday, June 10, 2001

Definitions for denouement

  1. The final resolution of the main complication of a literary or dramatic work.
  2. The outcome of a complex sequence of events.

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Citations for denouement
And perhaps this helps to explain the frequency of the violent denouement in contemporary novels: in the country that embraced the slogan "Today is the first day of the rest of your life," how do you call it quits on a character who is still breathing? Brad Leithauser, New York Times
Of course, the crusaders were losers in the short run, but Europe's storytellers have traditionally awarded them the righteous victory and not dwelt on the embarrassing denouement. Todd Gitlin, The Twilight of Common Dreams
Origin of denouement
Denouement is from French, from Old French denoer, "to untie," from Latin de- + nodare, "to tie in a knot," from nodus, "a knot."