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comic relief

an amusing scene, incident, or speech introduced into serious or tragic elements, as in a play, in order to provide temporary relief from tension, or to intensify the dramatic action.
relief from tension caused by the introduction or occurrence of a comic element, as by an amusing human foible.
Origin of comic relief
1815-25 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for comic relief
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Historical Examples
  • It was well said of him that he "gave to the sad and solemn White House the only comic relief it knew."

  • This was the comic relief of an absurdly dramatic situation.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • The comic relief supplied by the mad scenes spoils the tragic unity of the play.

    Tragedy Ashley H. Thorndike
  • Staking all on high moments is melodrama with no comic relief.

  • The horror and suspense had been so great that when it broke with comic relief the house was really hysterical.

    The Iron Puddler James J. Davis

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