1. the final resolution of a literary or dramatic plot 2. the outcome of a complex sequence of events: "We were in the restaurant for an hour looking for my car keys, glaring suspiciously at the patrons around us, only to reach an embarrassing denouement -- they were in my back pocket."
***When the '70s pass before my eyes, I feel myself sink again into the murk, sucked back into the violence and stupidity, the sleaze and failure, the narcissism and paranoia. It all comes back: riots at the gas pumps, terrorists on every flight, double-digit inflation, the last ignominious helicopters out of Saigon, the explosion of crime, the lousy cars from Detroit, Nixon's sweating upper lip as he says good-bye, the Club of Rome's gaudy apocalypse, the massive dumbing down of everything, and the perfect denouement -- the Ayatollah and the hostage crisis." Lance Morrow. "How the '70s Changed America," [Review of 'How We Got Here -- The 70s' by David Frum] Time.com (February 20, 2000).