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anticlimax

[an-ti-klahy-maks] /ˌæn tɪˈklaɪ mæks/
noun
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.
3.
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
1720-1730
1720-30; anti- + climax
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for anti-climax

anticlimax

/ˌæntɪˈklaɪmæks/
noun
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
3.
(rhetoric) a descent in discourse from the significant or important to the trivial, inconsequential, etc
Derived Forms
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
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Word Origin and History for anti-climax

anticlimax

n.

"the addition of a particular which suddenly lowers the effect," 1701, from anti- + climax (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for anti-climax

anticlimax

a figure of speech that consists of the usually sudden transition in discourse from a significant idea to a trivial or ludicrous one. Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock uses anticlimax liberally; an example isHere thou, great Anna, whom three realms obey,Dost sometimes counsel take, and sometimes tea

Learn more about anticlimax with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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