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cadence

[keyd-ns]
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noun Also cadency.
  1. rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds or words: the cadence of language.
  2. (in free verse) a rhythmic pattern that is nonmetrically structured.
  3. the beat, rate, or measure of any rhythmic movement: The chorus line danced in rapid cadence.
  4. the flow or rhythm of events, especially the pattern in which something is experienced: the frenetic cadence of modern life.
  5. a slight falling in pitch of the voice in speaking or reading, as at the end of a declarative sentence.
  6. the general modulation of the voice.
  7. Music. a sequence of notes or chords that indicates the momentary or complete end of a composition, section, phrase, etc.
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verb (used with object), ca·denced, ca·denc·ing.
  1. to make rhythmical.
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Origin of cadence

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French < Italian cadenza; see cadenza

Synonyms

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3. tempo, pulse, rhythm, meter.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

  • 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


British Dictionary definitions for cadence

cadence

cadency

noun plural -dences or -dencies
  1. the beat or measure of something rhythmic
  2. a fall in the pitch of the voice, as at the end of a sentence
  3. modulation of the voice; intonation
  4. a rhythm or rhythmic construction in verse or prose; measure
  5. the close of a musical phrase or section
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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

Word Origin and History for cadence

n.

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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper