• synonyms


[kri-shen-doh, -sen-doh; Italian kre-shen-daw]
noun, plural cre·scen·dos, cre·scen·di [kri-shen-dee, -sen-dee; Italian kre-shen-dee] /krɪˈʃɛn di, -ˈsɛn di; Italian krɛˈʃɛn di/.
  1. Music.
    1. a gradual, steady increase in loudness or force.
    2. a musical passage characterized by such an increase.
    3. the performance of a crescendo passage: The crescendo by the violins is too abrupt.
  2. a steady increase in force or intensity: The rain fell in a crescendo on the rooftops.
  3. the climactic point or moment in such an increase; peak: The authorities finally took action when public outrage reached a crescendo.
Show More
adjective, adverb
  1. gradually increasing in force, volume, or loudness (opposed to decrescendo or diminuendo).
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. to grow in force or loudness.
Show More

Origin of crescendo

1770–80; < Italian: literally, growing < Latin crēscendum, gerund of crēscere to grow; see crescent

Antonyms for crescendo

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

Examples from the Web for crescendoed

Historical Examples of crescendoed

  • 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

  • It was followed by a grating noise that crescendoed and culminated in a terrific crash.


    Daniel F. Galouye

British Dictionary definitions for crescendoed


noun plural -dos or -di (-dɪ)
  1. music
    1. a gradual increase in loudness or the musical direction or symbol indicating thisAbbreviation: cresc, (written over the music affected)
    2. (as modifier)a crescendo passage
  2. a gradual increase in loudness or intensitythe rising crescendo of a song
  3. a peak of noise or intensitythe cheers reached a crescendo
Show More
verb -does, -doing or -doed
  1. (intr) to increase in loudness or force
Show More
  1. with a crescendo
Show More

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

Word Origin and History for crescendoed



1776 as a musical term, from Italian crescendo "increasing," from Latin crescendo, ablative of gerund of crescere "to increase" (see crescent). Figurative use is from 1785. As a verb, from 1900.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

crescendoed in Culture



A musical direction used to indicate increasing loudness.

Show More


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.