Definition of cliffhanger in English:

cliffhanger

noun

  • 1A dramatic and exciting ending to an episode of a serial, leaving the audience in suspense and anxious not to miss the next episode.

    ‘it will take more than outrageous cliffhangers to win the ratings wars’
    as modifier ‘a cliffhanger ending’
    • ‘Of course, in keeping with the name of the program, each episode of each serial ended with a cliffhanger.’
    • ‘And then, like a dramatic cliffhanger, the day ended.’
    • ‘Complications arise during the surgery, but a cliffhanger ending leads the audience to wonder if Dr. Brown has managed a second miracle.’
    • ‘The film ends with a cliffhanger, leaving the audience hungry for more.’
    • ‘The only real problem is the final episode ends in a cliffhanger, as Kira, his friends, and their Alliance allies seek haven from the pursuing ZAFT forces.’
    • ‘This season was also notable for the excellent way it would end episodes with cliffhangers that dovetailed smoothly into next week's installment.’
    • ‘The cliffhanger from the previous episode gets resolved offstage, so that everyone can stand around having conversations.’
    • ‘Honest serials play fair with these cliffhangers, putting the hero into danger and giving the audience a week to sweat over how he will escape the peril.’
    • ‘Every week they would perform a half-hour show in a pub, each ending in a cliffhanger designed to persuade the audience to return the next week.’
    • ‘The cornerstones of the old time serials, such as a cliffhanger ending, a brief recap at the beginning, and brisk pacing made for exciting television.’
    • ‘The doc says that there's a problem just so we can get that faux - dramatic cliffhanger before the commercials.’
    • ‘All the comedy, tatty eccentricity and devil-may-care cynicism are utterly gone - and of course the ambiguous cliffhanger ending is unthinkable.’
    • ‘Be warned though, if you get into it, the cliffhanger ending is going to drive you nuts.’
    • ‘Most rewarding are seemingly unrelated stories, like Toby's impending fatherhood, that end up having a poignant payoff within the cliffhanger ending of the season.’
    • ‘The unique format (the chapter format rather than a conventional narrative) and the cliffhanger endings kept me in my seat from start to finish.’
    • ‘This is probably nowhere more true than in ‘Venom,’ the season-ending two-part episode that sets up a cliffhanger for the beginning of season two.’
    • ‘Ok, you were probably expecting this chapter to take place right after the first one and for the little cliffhanger ending of the first chapter to be resolved.’
    • ‘It forces the audience to wait and wait with cliffhangers during and at the end of each show.’
    • ‘The second movie ends with a cliffhanger and Silver felt fans would want to see the conclusion as quickly as possible.’
    • ‘Once you are in the trash zone, you will be hooked and unable to wait for the follow-up to the fantastic cliffhanger fade-out.’
    1. 1.1A story or event with a strong element of suspense.
      ‘the match was a cliffhanger right up to the final whistle’
      • ‘Good handicapping meant clashes like the Jane Fletcher Memorial Cup match between Chowbent B and Metro A stayed a cliffhanger until the final games.’
      • ‘Knights supporters took over South Leeds Stadium yesterday and witnessed the latest in a long line of heart-stopping stories stolen from the script of a comic-book cliffhanger.’
      • ‘It's going to be a cliffhanger, and you're going to have the same story in 2000.’
      • ‘I see it turning into a mystery, cliffhanger story.’
      • ‘The cliffhanger nature of serial fiction, exploited by everything from 1940's B-features to modern soap opera, is an easy target for the satirist.’
      • ‘He agreed the threat of a dramatic cliffhanger vote on a flagship policy was ‘not a good situation’ for a government with a Commons majority of 161.’
      • ‘As a two-part cliffhanger, these episodes are not as dramatic as they could be, because the outcome is all but certain.’
      • ‘However, as punishment for staying beyond a year, he had to figure out how to resolve the cliffhanger episode ‘Best of Both Worlds.’’
      • ‘At the end of last season's cliffhanger final episode, he was heard shouting, ‘Weapons of mass destruction!’’
      • ‘The girls defeated Carrigallen from Leitrim in a tense and exciting cliffhanger on a scoreline of three goals to two.’
      • ‘A sound boom tore the skies after India won a cliffhanger to take the one day series 3-2.’
      • ‘Chen achieved re-election by just 30,000 votes, beating Nationalist party leader Lien Chan, after a cliffhanger campaign.’
      • ‘New York made it to the National League Championship Series as a Wild Card team last October, losing a cliffhanger series to the Atlanta Braves.’
      • ‘States that were not competitive in the previous election might subsequently produce cliffhangers.’

Origin

1930s from early film serials in which episodes ended with characters in desperate situations such as hanging off the edge of a cliff.

Pronunciation

cliffhanger

/ˈklɪfhaŋə/