Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A melodramatic serial in which each episode ends in suspense.
  • n. A suspenseful situation occurring at the end of a chapter, scene, or episode.
  • n. A contest so closely matched that the outcome is uncertain until the end.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ending or stopping point calculated to leave a story unresolved, in order to create suspense.
  • n. An outcome which is awaited with keen anticipation, especially one which is delayed for a period of time or which is not known until the last minute.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a contest whose outcome is uncertain up to the very end.
  • n. an episode of a drama that ends in suspense.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a contest whose outcome is uncertain up to the very end
  • n. an episode that ends in suspense

Etymologies

From cliff +‎ hanger, evoking the image of someone left hanging from a cliff, thereby having an uncertain fate. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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