Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

cadence

play
noun ca·dence \ˈkā-dən(t)s\

Simple Definition of cadence

  • : a regular beat or rhythm

  • : the way a person's voice changes by gently rising and falling while he or she is speaking

  • : an ending part of a piece of music

Full Definition of cadence

  1. 1 a :  a rhythmic sequence or flow of sounds in language b :  the beat, time, or measure of rhythmical motion or activity

  2. 2 a :  a falling inflection of the voice b :  a concluding and usually falling strain; specifically :  a musical chord sequence moving to a harmonic close or point of rest and giving the sense of harmonic completion

  3. 3 :  the modulated and rhythmic recurrence of a sound especially in nature

ca·denced play \-dən(t)st\ adjective
ca·den·tial play \kā-ˈden(t)-shəl\ adjective

Examples of cadence

  1. the steady cadence of the drums

  2. Oars moved back and forth in smooth cadence.

  3. He speaks with a soft Southern cadence.



Origin of cadence

Middle English, from Old Italian cadenza, from cadere to fall, from Latin — more at chance


First Known Use: 14th century



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up cadence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 16.96 pounds 100 pounds 196.5 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ