[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.
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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
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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
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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.
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