[kri-shen-doh, -sen-doh; Italian kre-shen-daw]
noun, plural crescendos, crescendi [kri-shen-dee, -sen-dee; Italian kre-shen-dee] .
a gradual, steady increase in loudness or force.
a musical passage characterized by such an increase.
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.

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. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To crescendo
World English Dictionary
crescendo (krɪˈʃɛndəʊ)
n , pl -dos, -di
1.  music
 a.  cresc, a gradual increase in loudness or the musical direction or symbol indicating this
 b.  (as modifier): a crescendo passage
2.  a gradual increase in loudness or intensity: the rising crescendo of a song
3.  a peak of noise or intensity: the cheers reached a crescendo
vb , -dos, -di, -does, -doing, -doed
4.  (intr) to increase in loudness or force
5.  with a crescendo
[C18: from Italian, literally: increasing, from crescere to grow, from Latin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1776 as a musical direction, from It. crescendo "increasing," from L. crescendo, abl. of gerund of crescere "to increase." Fig. use is from 1785. As a verb, from 1900.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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
Example sentences
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.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature