“Anticlimax: 1. In rhetoric, a descent from the elevated and important to the low and trivial: ‘Here thou, Great Anna! whom three realms obey,/Dost sometimes counsel take—and sometimes tea’ (Pope, The Rape of the Lock, (1712). 2. In drama, the lowered state after a climax; in life, an outcome that fails to live up to expectations.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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