Definitions

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

  • n. A sudden dramatic turn of events in a play.
  • n. An unexpected and sensational event, especially one that reverses or negates a prevailing situation.

Etymologies

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

French : coup, stroke + de, of + théâtre, theater.

Examples

  • If I wasn't older, I wouldn't be able to look forward to seeing my great-nieces.

    Enid Borden: Bad News: We're Getting Older; Good News: We're Getting Older

  • This situation only came to light when Loretta's two great-nieces were appointed guardian for Loretta.

    The powers (of attorney) that be: What you need to know now

  • When these great-nieces discovered these abuses, they concluded that a system that could allow these abuses to continue for that many years was flawed.

    The powers (of attorney) that be: What you need to know now

  • A few days after President Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama, sons, daughters, great-nieces and other relatives of British officials stationed in Tibet in the 1930s and '40s gathered together to commemorate a unique anniversary - of the Dalai Lama's enthronement on February 22, 1940, in Lhasa.

    President Obama's Gift to the Dalai Lama

  • Julia Domna and her female relatives have appeared to many modern historians to have held such political influence that the Severan dynasty has often been painted as a matriarchy, in which first Domna herself, then her sister Julia Maesa and great-nieces Julia Soaemias and Julia Mamaea held the apron strings of their baby-faced progeny.

    Caesars’ Wives

  • A dedicated lover of nature, she took pains to catalog for her great-nieces and - nephews the wildflowers and birds that she observed on her nature walks.

    Adele Bildersee.

  • So I tuned in to Mom's television, as sticky great-nieces and great-nephews clambered over me.

    Stan Goff: Air Travel Under Orange Alert

  • In any event, in a case of what must be either coincidence or serendipity or synchronicity, one of Corliss's great-nieces, Ned's cousin, now serves with me on my congregation's Worship Committee.

    Philocrites: Ned Lamont and Corliss Lamont.

  • I talked to his niece and his three great-nieces yesterday, and they ` re all very shocked about what had happened.

    CNN Transcript Mar 17, 2006

  • She always set up house in London with a female companion, usually an aunt, whom she sent into the country to visit a nephew and a brood of great-nephews and great-nieces as soon as respectability had been established.

    A Christmas Bride

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