Why was clemency trending last week?


[kri-shen-doh, -sen-doh; Italian kre-shen-daw] /ckrɪˈʃɛn doʊ, -ˈsɛn doʊ; Italian krɛˈʃɛn dɔ/
noun, plural crescendos, crescendi
[kri-shen-dee, -sen-dee; Italian kre-shen-dee] /krɪˈʃɛn di, -ˈsɛn di; Italian krɛˈʃɛn di/ (Show IPA)
  1. a gradual, steady increase in loudness or force.
  2. a musical passage characterized by such an increase.
  3. the performance of a crescendo passage:
    The crescendo by the violins is too abrupt.
a steady increase in force or intensity:
The rain fell in a crescendo on the rooftops.
the climactic point or moment in such an increase; peak:
The authorities finally took action when public outrage reached a crescendo.
adjective, adverb
gradually increasing in force, volume, or loudness (opposed to decrescendo or diminuendo).
verb (used without object)
to grow in force or loudness.
Origin of crescendo
1770-80; < Italian: literally, growing < Latin crēscendum, gerund of crēscere to grow; see crescent
1. diminuendo. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for crescendo
  • Having set the stage, he drives the play along by natural crescendo to a startling and terrifying climax.
  • There they'll grow and bloom through winter until their crescendo in spring.
  • Any mental activity is accompanied by a ceaseless crescendo and diminuendo of background processing.
  • The crescendo of calls is quite loud but subsides quickly before the rest of the lemurs get going.
  • Specimens flicker by in an entrancing crescendo until the video becomes a frenzied slew of images.
  • Voices rise in crescendo, chanting for the regime to fall.
  • If you want to build to a crescendo, it makes sense to start the bowl season with one of the biggest mismatches in the opener.
  • The real substance, that insidious background crescendo, is gone.
  • Sobs filled the house in a crescendo that became a group lamentation.
  • But the stark crescendo of the proceedings more often suggests the case history of a delinquent hill-billy.
British Dictionary definitions for crescendo


noun (pl) -dos, -di (-dɪ)
  1. a gradual increase in loudness or the musical direction or symbol indicating this cresc, (written over the music affected)
  2. (as modifier): a crescendo passage
a gradual increase in loudness or intensity: the rising crescendo of a song
a peak of noise or intensity: the cheers reached a crescendo
verb -does, -doing, -doed
(intransitive) to increase in loudness or force
with a crescendo
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, literally: increasing, from crescere to grow, from Latin
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for crescendo

1776 as a musical term, from Italian crescendo "increasing," from Latin crescendo, ablative of gerund of crescere "to increase" (see crescent). Figurative use is from 1785. As a verb, from 1900.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
crescendo in Culture
crescendo [(kruh-shen-doh)]

A musical direction used to indicate increasing loudness.

Note: The term is sometimes used figuratively to indicate rising intensity in general: “As the days went on, there was a crescendo of angry letters about my speech.” Crescendo is also sometimes misused to indicate a peak of intensity, as in, “The angry letters about my speech hit a crescendo on Wednesday.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for crescendo

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for crescendo

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with crescendo

Nearby words for crescendo