• synonyms


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.
Show More
verb (used with object), ca·denced, ca·denc·ing.
  1. to make rhythmical.
Show More

Origin of cadence

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

Synonyms for cadence

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cadencing

Historical Examples of cadencing

  • The cadencing of a musical phrase in Hawaiian song was marked by a peculiarity all its own.

    Unwritten Literature of Hawaii

    Nathaniel Bright Emerson

  • The six-four chord may be used at the close as the cadencing tonic six-four chord.

British Dictionary definitions for cadencing



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
Show More

Word Origin for cadence

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 cadencing



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.).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper