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cliff-hanger

[klif-hang-er] /ˈklɪfˌhæŋ ər/
noun
1.
a melodramatic adventure serial in which each installment ends in suspense in order to interest the reader or viewer in the next installment.
2.
a situation or contest of which the outcome is suspensefully uncertain up to the very last moment:
The game was a cliff-hanger, but our team finally won.
Also, cliffhanger.
Origin
1935-1940
1935-40, Americanism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cliffhanger
  • Transporting coins can turn into a real cliffhanger.
  • Transporting coins can turn into a real cliffhanger.
  • It is good to hear that any cliffhanger that the season finale ends with will be wrapped up in a movie though.
  • This was a cliffhanger intended to be explained in the next season.
British Dictionary definitions for cliffhanger

cliffhanger

/ˈklɪfˌhæŋə/
noun
1.
  1. a situation of imminent disaster usually occurring at the end of each episode of a serialized film
  2. the serialized film itself
2.
a situation that is dramatic or uncertain
Derived Forms
cliffhanging, adjective
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 cliffhanger

cliff-hanger

n.

also cliffhanger, "suspenseful situation," 1937, in reference to U.S. cinema serials, agent noun from cliff + agent noun from hang (v.). In some cases, especially Westerns, the hero or heroine literally was dangling from a cliff at the end of an episode.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cliffhanger

cliffhanger

noun

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]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for cliffhanger

cliff-hanger

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.

Learn more about cliff-hanger with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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