The word of the week this week is cliffhanger. The first recorded use of the word cliffhanger occurred in the 1873 book A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy. In the book, Hardy’s protagonist, Henry Knight, was left hanging off the edge of a cliff. However, the word did not enter common usage until the 1940s when black and white serials became popular. One of the most popular of these, The Perils of Pauline, ended every episode with the main character in extreme peril. This quickly popularized the technique and the use of the word itself.

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