Definition of cadence
1a : a rhythmic sequence or flow of sounds in language the grand cadence of his poetryb : the beat, time, or measure of rhythmical motion or activity The drill sergeant counted cadence. the steady cadence of the drums
2a : a falling inflection of the voiceb : 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 : the modulated and rhythmic recurrence of a sound especially in nature
cadencedplay \-dən(t)st\ adjective
cadentialplay \kā-ˈden(t)-shəl\ adjective
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Examples of cadence in a Sentence
the steady cadence of the drums
Oars moved back and forth in smooth cadence.
He speaks with a soft Southern cadence.
Recent Examples of cadence from the Web
Roseau Inaugurated in 1997, the World Creole Music Festival celebrates French-Caribbean genres including Dominica's indigenous lilting cadence-lypso and propulsive bouyon, zouk from neighboring Guadeloupe and Martinique and Haitian kompa.
It’s all hands on deck aboard the Star of India as sailors hone their shipboard skills to the cadence of songs recounting the adventure, tragedy and romance of life at sea.
Each phrase is announced with the scrupulous cadences found in late Stravinsky.
The Wahoo Fitness Run/Gym Pack for the iPhone is the most compact way to turn your iPhone into an ANT+ receiver for heart rate and cadence counting during your workouts.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cadence'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Falling into the hands of English speakers in the 14th century, cadence derives via Middle English and Old Italian from the Latin verb cadere, meaning "to fall." (Cadere can be found in the history of many common English words, including decay, coincide, and accident.) We most often hear cadence used in contexts pertaining to voice or music—it might refer to the familiar way in which someone speaks, or the rhythms employed by a rap artist, or the rising and falling notes of a bird's call. Cadenza, the Old Italian word that factors into the history of cadence, has its own place in English as well. Cadenza in English usually refers to a brilliant musical flourish played before closing out an aria.
cadence in the Military
Cadence can refer to any rhythmic sequence of words or sound, but in military contexts, the word has a particular meaning, referring to the rhythmic chants sung by soldiers in marching formation.
These chants can often help keep marchers in line with the rhythm of the march:
Early each morning we were assembled for drill, marching to the cadence of a full-throated Marine sergeant who had little use for us; what he knew for sure about us was that we would be of little value in any hand-to-hand fight.
Lewis Thomas, in Authors at Sea, 1997
CADENCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cadence for English Language Learners
: 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
CADENCE Defined for Kids
Definition of cadence for Students
: a regular beat or rhythm We heard the steady cadence of the drums.
Seen and Heard
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