Double Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam reclaimed her world crown after comfortably beating Anouk Vetter in the final 800m event, with defending champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson eighth overall.
Vetter, the Tokyo 2020 silver medallist, held a slender 19-point lead over the Belgian going into the final discipline in Eugene, but Thiam comfortably clawed that back when finishing seven seconds quicker in the 800m.
American Anna Hall won that race to seal bronze.
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"I worked really hard on the 800m so knew I could do a good time, but think I needed that extra push of someone behind me," said Thiam, who claimed world gold in 2017 and then silver when Johnson-Thompson won the event in 2019.
Johnson-Thompson was deemed an outside shot for the podium having recently changed coaches and completed just one heptathlon event since suffering a calf injury during Tokyo 2020 last year.
The Briton placed as high as sixth after the fourth discipline, the 200m, but rarely troubled her own personal bests across the heptathlon.
She was fifth in the opening 100m hurdles, 0.46 seconds off her PB of 13.09. Her high jump score was 1.83m (PB 1.98m), and she then threw 12.92m (PB 13.86m) in the shot put, ran 23.62s (PB 22.79s)in the 200m and posted 6.28m (PB 6.92m) in the long jump. In the 800m, she ran 2:19.16 (PB 2:07.26).
"I am sort of a dreamer and I thought it could have gone a bit differently, but I am just happy that I am here, healthy and building back to where I want to be," she told BBC Sport.
Johnson-Thompson will now turn her attentions to defending her heptathlon title at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
She added: "I just need to get more training in the bag, get some consistency and get my confidence back as well.
"Hopefully the Commonwealth title defence will go better than this one."
Former Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill said: "She [Johnson-Thompson] has come into the championships with an objective of performing, being competitive, coming out injury free and improving on what she has already done this year.
"It's safe to say she is well on the way to doing that. She's had so many injuries in the past couple of years and some really difficult challenges to deal with so what we're seeing is really solid performances."
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