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[dey-noo-mahn] /ˌdeɪ nuˈmɑ̃/
the final resolution of the intricacies of a plot, as of a drama or novel.
the place in the plot at which this occurs.
the outcome or resolution of a doubtful series of occurrences.
Also, dénouement.
Origin of denouement
1745-55; < French: literally, an untying, equivalent to dénouer to untie, Old French desnoer (des- de- + noer to knot < Latin nōdāre, derivative of nōdus knot) + -ment -ment
3. solution, conclusion, end, upshot. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for denouement
  • As yet, the denouement remains unwritten.
  • He doesn't buy the standard Hollywood story arc that culminates in a feel-good denouement.
  • But when the denouement comes our eyes widen in astonishment.
  • But it's not the denouement that keeps us transfixed.
  • Events tumble towards the denouement.
  • Its almost as if they switched the denouement with the opening conflict with the body with the rising action.
  • There are a few ups and downs before the inevitable denouement.
  • It has an embarrassingly sophomoric twist for a denouement.
  • But despite all the nastiness, love and redemption retain the power to heal some very wounded souls in a surprising denouement.
  • In a bittersweet denouement, the eggs won't hatch.
British Dictionary definitions for denouement


  1. the final clarification or resolution of a plot in a play or other work
  2. the point at which this occurs
final outcome; solution
Word Origin
C18: from French, literally: an untying, from dénouer to untie, from Old French desnoer, from des-de- + noer to tie, knot, from Latin nōdāre, from nōdus a knot; see node
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 denouement

1752, from French dénouement "an untying" (of plot), from dénouer "untie" (Old French desnouer) from des- "un-, out" (see dis-) + nouer "to tie, knot," from Latin nodus "a knot," from PIE *ned- "to bind, tie" (see net (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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denouement in Culture
dénouement [(day-nooh-mahnn)]

The solution or outcome of the plot of a play or novel: “In the dénouement of many tragedies, the main character dies.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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