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[keyd-ns] /ˈkeɪd ns/
noun, Also, cadency.
rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds or words:
the cadence of language.
(in free verse) a rhythmic pattern that is nonmetrically structured.
the beat, rate, or measure of any rhythmic movement:
The chorus line danced in rapid cadence.
the flow or rhythm of events, especially the pattern in which something is experienced:
the frenetic cadence of modern life.
a slight falling in pitch of the voice in speaking or reading, as at the end of a declarative sentence.
the general modulation of the voice.
Music. a sequence of notes or chords that indicates the momentary or complete end of a composition, section, phrase, etc.
verb (used with object), cadenced, cadencing.
to make rhythmical.
Origin of cadence
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French < Italian cadenza; see cadenza
3. tempo, pulse, rhythm, meter. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cadence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I have brought men to dress you in a cadence; these kinds of suits are put on with ceremony.

  • It regulated the juxtaposition of sounds and the cadence of sentences.

    Cratylus Plato
  • May again sighed, and with a tremor in the cadence that was almost a sob.

    One Of Them Charles James Lever
  • All his yearnings were fanned to flame by the cadence of her voice and the softness of her eyes.

    The Plunderer Roy Norton
  • It will be remarked that it is so free that there is no cadence that any musician could find.

    Confessions of a Book-Lover Maurice Francis Egan
  • They consisted of a few chanted words, with a cadence and a long yodl.

British Dictionary definitions for cadence


noun (pl) -dences, -dencies
the beat or measure of something rhythmic
a fall in the pitch of the voice, as at the end of a sentence
modulation of the voice; intonation
a rhythm or rhythmic construction in verse or prose; measure
the close of a musical phrase or section
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Old Italian cadenza, literally: a falling, from Latin cadere to fall
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cadence

late 14c., "flow of rhythm in verse or music," from Middle French cadence, from Old Italian cadenza "conclusion of a movement in music," literally "a falling," from Vulgar Latin *cadentia, from neuter plural of Latin cadens, present participle of cadere "to fall" (see case (n.1)). In 16c., sometimes used literally for "an act of falling." A doublet of chance (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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