This week’s interesting word is said to have been coined by J.R.R. Tolkien, one of my favourite authors.

Woods and fieldsA eucatastrophe is a sudden, favourable resolution of events – or a happy ending. Tolkien described it as “the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears” (1944). There is some debate over the relationship between eucatastrophe and deus ex machina, but the eucatastrophe is a fundamentally optimistic narrative device.

Eucatastrophe was formed by combining eu (a Greek prefix meaning ‘good’) and catastrophe (a change that produces the conclusion of a dramatic work).


The Oxford English Dictionary (online)