[dee-kri-shen-doh, dey-; Italian de-kre-shen-daw]Music.

adjective, adverb

gradually reducing force or loudness; diminuendo (opposed to crescendo).

noun, plural de·cre·scen·dos, Italian de·cre·scen·di [de-kre-shen-dee] /ˌdɛ krɛˈʃɛn di/.

a gradual reduction in force or loudness.
a decrescendo passage.

Origin of decrescendo

1800–10; < Italian, gerund of decrescere; see decrease Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decrescendo

Historical Examples of decrescendo

  • A descending passage, as a return to tranquillity, requires a decrescendo.

    For Every Music Lover

    Aubertine Woodward Moore

  • He made a decrescendo tinkling, and his lofty features lapsed into their normal mournfulness.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • Decrescendo (or diminuendo) al pianissimo means—decrease gradually in power until the pianissimo (or very soft) point is reached.

  • When she had to sustain a note for a couple of bars, I was surprised at the beauty of her crescendo and decrescendo.

  • When she sustains her voice for a couple of bars, I am quite surprised at the beauty of her crescendo and decrescendo.

British Dictionary definitions for decrescendo


noun, adjective

another word for diminuendo

Word Origin for decrescendo

Italian, from decrescere to decrease
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 decrescendo

1806, from Italian decrescendo, from Latin decrescere (see decrease (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper