From my undestanding of those two words :

Climax : point of highest tension in a drama.

Anticlimax : Something which might have seem like a climax at some point is finally very trivial.

I am looking for a word that describe something right in between those two words. nothing seems to stand out, whether it is in a good or bad way.

The joke analogy may clear some things up :

  • The punch line of a good joke may be refered to as a climax.

  • the punch line of a bad joke may be refered to as an anti-climax (as it may be disappointing, not fulfilling any expectation).

  • What I am looking for is the word for the punch line which is not really disappointing, but not funny enough to even make the side of your mouth twitch.

PS : feel free to correct any spelling mistakes present here. The french I am Frenchman in me would be very thankful grateful!

  • 4
    What would you use that word for?, can you provide a context please? – user66974 Jun 22 '16 at 15:34
  • 1
    A quick cigarette. – MetaEd Jun 22 '16 at 15:40
  • You could just call it "the ending" or "the end". – Max Williams Jun 22 '16 at 15:41
  • @MετάEd that's a very funny and accurate metaphor ! – Joulin Nicolas Jun 22 '16 at 15:50
  • edited the question to be a bit more clear (or at least I tried to) – Joulin Nicolas Jun 22 '16 at 15:50

You could say the punchline was tepid, or one of its many synonymns:

(especially of a liquid) only slightly warm; lukewarm.

synonyms: lukewarm, warmish, slightly warm; at room temperature

"tepid water"

showing little enthusiasm.

"the applause was tepid"

synonyms: unenthusiastic, apathetic, muted, halfhearted, so-so, 'comme ci, comme ça', indifferent, subdued, cool, lukewarm, uninterested, unenthused

"a tepid response"

You might also describe the punchline as meh, depending on how informal your context is:

expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm.

"Meh. I'm not impressed so far"

uninspiring; unexceptional.

"a lot of his movies are … meh"

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  • Actually, a tepid outcome could be interpreted as anticlimactic. – Kristina Lopez Jun 22 '16 at 16:00
  • Tepid and the synonyms you provide seem to me to describe the audience and its response rather than the punchline. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 22 '16 at 16:00
  • @KristinaLopez I guess that raises a meta question about where "the middle" stops and "anticlimactic" begins. But OP seems to be looking for words that describe the middle, and tepid seems to be about right. If you have a better answer I'd be curious to read it. – Kevin Workman Jun 22 '16 at 16:02
  • @StoneyB If we stick to the examples from google, I agree with you. But I think it would be very reasonable to describe a "middle of the road" punchline as tepid. – Kevin Workman Jun 22 '16 at 16:03
  • Ha! If I had one, Kevin, I'd submit it. Personally, I don't think there is a word for the OP's scenario but I have to say, your "Meh" seems like a winner! +1 :-) – Kristina Lopez Jun 22 '16 at 16:16

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