[ kri-shen-doh, -sen-doh; Italian kre-shen-daw ]
/ krɪˈʃɛn doʊ, -ˈsɛn doʊ; Italian krɛˈʃɛn dɔ /
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noun, plural cre·scen·dos, cre·scen·di [kri-shen-dee, -sen-dee; Italian kre-shen-dee]. /krɪˈʃɛn di, -ˈsɛn di; Italian krɛˈʃɛn di/.
- a gradual, steady increase in loudness or force.
- a musical passage characterized by such an increase.
- the performance of a crescendo passage: The crescendo by the violins is too abrupt.
a steady increase in force or intensity: The rain fell in a crescendo on the rooftops.
the climactic point or moment in such an increase; peak: The authorities finally took action when public outrage reached a crescendo.
gradually increasing in force, volume, or loudness (opposed to decrescendo or diminuendo).
verb (used without object)
to grow in force or loudness.
OPPOSITES FOR crescendo
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Origin of crescendo
1770–80; <Italian: literally, growing <Latin crēscendum, gerund of crēscere to grow; see crescent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use crescendo in a sentence
The performance really crescendoed when the band kicked in and Taylor started tossing her hair around all Beyoncé-like.Beyonce Gave the Best Grammy Awards Performance (And 8 More That Were Pretty Good, Too)|Kevin Fallon|January 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The hoofbeats of horse and rohorse crescendoed; there was the resounding clang!
The approaching knight and steed loomed larger; the sound of hoofbeats crescendoed into staccato thunder.
It was followed by a grating noise that crescendoed and culminated in a terrific crash.Spillthrough|Daniel F. Galouye
Her sustained and crescendoed high C in the third act of this opera is worth a long journey to hear.Stars of the Opera|Mabel Wagnalls
British Dictionary definitions for crescendo
/ (krɪˈʃɛndəʊ) /
noun plural -dos or -di (-dɪ)
- a gradual increase in loudness or the musical direction or symbol indicating thisAbbreviation: cresc, (written over the music affected) ≺
- (as modifier)a crescendo passage
a gradual increase in loudness or intensitythe rising crescendo of a song
a peak of noise or intensitythe cheers reached a crescendo
verb -does, -doing or -doed
(intr) to increase in loudness or force
with a crescendo
Word Origin for crescendo
C18: from Italian, literally: increasing, from crescere to grow, from Latin
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
Cultural definitions for crescendo
[ (kruh-shen-doh) ]
A musical direction used to indicate increasing loudness.
notes for crescendo
The term is sometimes used figuratively to indicate rising intensity in general: “As the days went on, there was a crescendo of angry letters about my speech.” Crescendo is also sometimes misused to indicate a peak of intensity, as in, “The angry letters about my speech hit a crescendo on Wednesday.”
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.