• synonyms


[dee-kri-shen-doh, dey-; Italian de-kre-shen-daw]Music.
adjective, adverb
  1. gradually reducing force or loudness; diminuendo (opposed to crescendo).
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noun, plural de·cre·scen·dos, Italian de·cre·scen·di [de-kre-shen-dee] /ˌdɛ krɛˈʃɛn di/.
  1. a gradual reduction in force or loudness.
  2. a decrescendo passage.
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Origin of decrescendo

1800–10; < Italian, gerund of decrescere; see decrease
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for decrescendo

Historical Examples

  • 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
  1. another word for diminuendo
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Word Origin

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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper