[klif-hang-er] /ˈklɪfˌhæŋ ər/

a melodramatic adventure serial in which each installment ends in suspense in order to interest the reader or viewer in the next installment.
a situation or contest of which the outcome is suspensefully uncertain up to the very last moment:
The game was a cliff-hanger, but our team finally won.

also cliffhanger, “suspenseful situation,” 1937, in reference to U.S. cinema serials, agent noun from cliff + agent noun from hang (v.). In some cases, especially Westerns, the hero or heroine literally was dangling from a cliff at the end of an episode.


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