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cascade

[kas-keyd]
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noun
  1. a waterfall descending over a steep, rocky surface.
  2. a series of shallow or steplike waterfalls, either natural or artificial.
  3. anything that resembles a waterfall, especially in seeming to flow or fall in abundance: a cascade of roses covering the wall.
  4. (in a drain or sewer) a chain of steps for dissipating the momentum of falling water in a steep place in order to maintain a steady rate of flow.
  5. an arrangement of a lightweight fabric in folds falling one over another in random or zigzag fashion.
  6. a type of firework resembling a waterfall in effect.
  7. Chemistry. a series of vessels, from each of which a fluid successively overflows to the next, thus presenting a large absorbing surface, as to a gas.
  8. Electricity. an arrangement of component devices, as electrolytic cells, each of which feeds into the next in succession.
  9. Biochemistry. a series of reactions catalyzed by enzymes that are activated sequentially by successive products of the reactions, resulting in an amplification of the initial response.
verb (used without object), cas·cad·ed, cas·cad·ing.
  1. to fall in or like a cascade.
verb (used with object), cas·cad·ed, cas·cad·ing.
  1. to cause to fall in a cascade.
  2. Electricity. to arrange (components) in a cascade.

Origin of cascade

1635–45; < French < Italian cascata, equivalent to casc(are) to fall (< Vulgar Latin *cāsicāre, equivalent to cās(us) fallen (past participle of cadere) + -icā- formative v. suffix + -re infinitive ending) + -ata -ade1
Related formscas·cad·er, nounun·cas·cad·ed, adjectiveun·cas·cad·ing, adjective

Cascade Range

noun
  1. a mountain range extending from N California to W Canada: highest peak, Mt. Rainier, 14,408 feet (4322 meters).
Also called the Cascades.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cascades

Historical Examples

  • The cascades, which fled at his approach, advanced when he retired.

    L'Assommoir

    Emile Zola

  • This occurred while they were many miles above the falls, or Cascades.

  • Cascades, brooks and torrents are the outward evidence of this inner travail.

    Chinese Painters

    Raphael Petrucci

  • The cascades here, I'm afraid, come down more like seed oatmeal.

    Hortus Inclusus

    John Ruskin

  • Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the monarch of the Cascades.


British Dictionary definitions for cascades

cascade

noun
  1. a waterfall or series of waterfalls over rocks
  2. something resembling this, such as folds of lace
    1. a consecutive sequence of chemical or physical processes
    2. (as modifier)cascade liquefaction
    1. a series of stages in the processing chain of an electrical signal where each operates the next in turn
    2. (as modifier)a cascade amplifier
  3. the cumulative process responsible for the formation of an electrical discharge, cosmic-ray shower, or Geiger counter avalanche in a gas
  4. the sequence of spontaneous decays by an excited atom or ion
verb
  1. (intr) to flow or fall in or like a cascade

Word Origin

C17: from French, from Italian cascata, from cascare to fall, ultimately from Latin cadere to fall

Cascade Range

noun
  1. a chain of mountains in the US and Canada: a continuation of the Sierra Nevada range from N California through Oregon and Washington to British Columbia. Highest peak: Mount Rainier, 4392 m (14 408 ft)
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

Word Origin and History for cascades

cascade

v.

1702, from cascade (n.). In early 19c. slang, "to vomit." Related: Cascaded; cascading.

cascade

n.

1640s, from French cascade (17c.), from Italian cascata "waterfall," from cascare "to fall," from Vulgar Latin *casicare, frequentative of Latin casum, casus, past participle of cadere "to fall" (see case (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cascades in Medicine

cascade

(kă-skād)
n.
  1. A succession of actions, processes, or operations, as of a physiological process.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

cascades in Science

cascade

[kăs-kād]
  1. A series of chemical or physiological processes that occur in successive stages, each of which is dependent on the preceding one, to produce a culminating effect. The steps involved in the clotting of blood occur as a cascade.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cascades in Culture

Cascades

Mountain chain extending from British Columbia, Canada, south through Washington and Oregon to northern California. It is known for its many volcanoes.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.