[ feyd-out ]
See synonyms for fade-out on Thesaurus.com
  1. Movies, Television. a gradual decrease in the visibility of a scene.

  2. Broadcasting, Recording. a gradual decrease in the volume of sound, especially of recorded or broadcast music, dialogue, or the like, usually ending in complete inaudibility.

  1. a gradual disappearance or reduction: the fade-out of a brilliant career.

Origin of fade-out

First recorded in 1915–20; noun use of verb phrase fade out

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fade-out in a sentence

  • The skulking, strutting, mincing, hurrying forms that pass us and fade out into the night are now becoming characters.

    My Wonderful Visit | Charlie Chaplin
  • He looked at her still with that searching look, which seemed to fade out of his eyes as he gazed.

    North and South | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
  • Rose expected it to go something like a "fade-out" on the moving picture screen.

  • The attacking thoughts may become less violent, or your resistance greater, in either of which cases the condition will fade out.

British Dictionary definitions for fade-out


  1. films an optical effect in which a shot slowly disappears into darkness

  2. a gradual reduction in signal strength in a radio or television broadcast

  1. a gradual and temporary loss of a received radio or television signal due to atmospheric disturbances, magnetic storms, etc

  2. a slow or gradual disappearance

verbfade out (adverb)
  1. to decrease or cause to decrease gradually, as vision or sound in a film or broadcast

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with fade-out


Gradually disappear or become inaudible; also, cause to disappear or become inaudible gradually. For example, He let the final chord fade out completely before he played the next movement. The antonym is fade in, “to appear gradually or become audible,” as in The images on the screen faded in until they could be seen clearly. These terms originated in the motion-picture and broadcasting industries, where they apply to images and sounds. [c. 1915]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.