Definition of crescendo in English:

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Pronunciation: /krəˈSHenˌdō/


1 (plural crescendos or crescendi /-dē/) Music A gradual increase in loudness in a piece of music.
Example sentences
  • The second is a three-part lullaby and the finale a moto perpetuo in gradual crescendo.
  • As Sora walked further down the hall, the redhead's sensitive ears picked up a gradual crescendo of a beautifully played piano.
  • Instead, it had more of a gradual crescendo, a spirit to it that demanded a faster movement.
1.1 Music A passage of music marked to be performed with a gradual increase of loudness.
Example sentences
  • The musical phraseology was convincing, and the crescendos and decrescendos were accurately measured and performed.
  • The final crescendo was stunningly articulated!
  • As crescendo after crescendo uplifts the piece, the group becomes more and more abrasive and unforgiving.
1.2The loudest point reached in a gradually increasing sound: Debra’s voice was rising to a crescendo
More example sentences
  • A great babble of voices all rose to a crescendo of sound that could only be the prelude to panic.
  • Excited chattering rose to a crescendo in the auditorium as the sound of the fast-moving convoy fell upon the ears of those at the back of the crowd.
  • Comedy sound effects come to a crescendo as the abused machine finally collapses in a heap of scrap metal.
1.3A progressive increase in force or intensity: a crescendo of misery
More example sentences
  • It was a fitting crescendo to a remarkable exhibition.
  • What followed was a rising crescendo in which he saw glorious opportunities for the future, the future in particular of left-of-centre politics.
  • Although many speakers struck bland notes individually, together these became a crescendo of shared concern.
1.4The most intense point reached in this; a climax: the negative reviews reached a crescendo in mid-February
More example sentences
  • In early April, this propaganda campaign reached a crescendo.
  • As the vocal chords stretched, the cheering reached a crescendo.
  • But the excitement reached a crescendo when the dance floor was thrown open.

adverb& adjective

With a gradual increase in loudness: [as adjective]: a short crescendo kettledrum roll
More example sentences
  • Each goal is honoured with the crescendo beat of drums and the noise is increased by the cheers of the successful party.
  • Reversing the crescendo pattern used by so many instrumental bands, the song begins with booming drums and layers of distorted bass, high-end guitars, and uplifting piano.

verb (crescendoes, crescendoing, crescendoed)

[no object]
Increase in loudness or intensity: the reluctant cheers began to crescendo
More example sentences
  • More laughter from the audience, which crescendoed as Kelly began actually discussing the things, in terms of their visual history and morphology.
  • It's also there in the way he ends notes in the verses, crescendoing and pitching up and then choking them off suddenly, cutting the sound short.
  • Soon, the faint pitter-patter crescendoed into the staccato of heavy drops falling on Heinrich's poncho.


Late 18th century: Italian, present participle of crescere 'to increase', from Latin crescere 'grow'.

Words that rhyme with crescendo

diminuendo, innuendo, kendo

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cre·scen·do

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