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A very suspenseful story, film, game, situation, etc: The election was a cliffhanger, right through the recount
[1937+; fr the fact that the actress Pearl White actually ended some episodes of her early serial movies hanging from the Palisades above the Hudson River]
a novel or other work appearing (as in a magazine) in parts at intervals. Novels written in the 19th century were commonly published as serials. Many works by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, and others first appeared serially in such magazines as Dickens's Household Words and Thackeray's The Cornhill Magazine.