Definition of crescendo in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /krɪˈʃɛndəʊ/


1 (plural crescendos or crescendi /krɪˈʃɛndi/) Music A gradual increase in loudness in a piece of music: each time the key changes, there is a gradual crescendo
More 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 or performed with a crescendo.
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: the port engine revs rose 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.
2A progressive increase in 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.
2.1The most intense point reached: the hysteria reached a crescendo around the spring festival
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
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.