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cas·​cade (ˌ)kas-ˈkād How to pronounce cascade (audio)
: a steep usually small fall of water
especially : one of a series
: something arranged or occurring in a series or in a succession of stages so that each stage derives from or acts upon the product of the preceding
blood clotting involves a biochemical cascade
: a fall of material (such as lace) that hangs in a zigzag line and that is used especially in clothing and draperies
: something falling or rushing forth in quantity
a cascade of sound
a cascade of events
Her hair was arranged in a cascade of curls.


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cascaded; cascading

intransitive verb

: to fall, pour, or rush in or as if in a cascade
The water cascaded over the rocks.
Her hair cascaded down around her shoulders.

transitive verb

: to cause to fall like a cascade
: to connect in a cascade arrangement

Examples of cascade in a Sentence

Noun Her hair was arranged in a cascade of curls. That decision set off a cascade of events. Verb The water cascades over the rocks. Her hair cascaded down around her shoulders.
Recent Examples on the Web
When my internal communications agency has fielded surveys and run focus groups with non-desk employees in industries including manufacturing, restaurants, retail, hospitality and healthcare, participants share an awareness of the cascade’s shortcomings. Elizabeth Baskin, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 It is discussed and debated in the days before the event, then executed with precision — high, sleek ponytails; crisp chignons; cascades of curls. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, 14 Feb. 2024 At their monthly meeting last Thursday, counselors in Pasadena Unified described a cascade of problems. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2024 Polland, who has a cascade of graying hair, explained why he was chosen for the honor. Ismail Ibrahim, The New Yorker, 29 Jan. 2024 The explosive accusations, which could not be independently verified by The Post, have sparked a high-level U.N. investigation and led a cascade of governments to put millions of dollars in funding for the agency on hold at the height of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Louisa Loveluck, Washington Post, 29 Jan. 2024 Plus, a certain new Republican representative from New York by the name of George Santos did not seem likely to survive a cascade of ethics issues and criminal charges. Carl Hulse, New York Times, 16 Jan. 2024 The cascade of snippets from huge artists disappearing could even usher in a new era on the For You Page feed. Reece Rogers, WIRED, 1 Feb. 2024 This cascade approach ensures each member of your company is effectively contributing to your overall success. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, 26 Jan. 2024
Cultivating awareness around emotional spending triggers and developing alternative coping strategies that do not involve financial expenditure, can lead to healthier behaviors that lead to a healthier financial life which has a cascading positive affect on a person’s well-being. Andre Jean-Pierre, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2024 Dazzle himself wears a cascading green A-line tinsel dress, which appears to fall out of a red plastic cup worn on his head—a reference to an important vomiting experience (beware of alcoholic slushies) in one of Mac’s songs. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 9 Feb. 2024 Western officials and military experts have warned that without U.S. assistance, a cascading collapse along the front is a real possibility later this year. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2024 But that injustice is at least engaged, not ignored, by such cascading layers of listeners and readers. Erica Funkhouser, The Atlantic, 21 Jan. 2024 The plan aims to blunt the cascading impacts of a shift to remote work that have fomented uncertainty for the county’s finances and for Tyson’s, which was remade in the past decade to function as Fairfax’s more urban downtown. Antonio Olivo, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2024 Rose details, seen on the custom Balmain gown worn by Margot Robbie, as well as with the rosettes that cascaded down the shoulder of Emily Blunt’s Giorgio Armani Privé gown were also notable. Laurie Brookins, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Jan. 2024 The result is cascading scales of paint, some protruding and curling subtly from the panels, often in three or four tones. Julie Belcove, Robb Report, 28 Jan. 2024 Preserved just as they were designed in the 1930s, the gardens include a cascading fountain, terraced lawns, roses tumbling over stone walls, and a formal boxwood garden. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 9 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cascade.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

French, from Italian cascata, from cascare to fall, from Vulgar Latin *casicare, from Latin casus fall

First Known Use


1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1702, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of cascade was in 1641

Dictionary Entries Near cascade

Cite this Entry

“Cascade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
cas·​cade kas-ˈkād How to pronounce cascade (audio)
: a steep usually small waterfall


2 of 2 verb
cascaded; cascading
: to fall in or as if in a cascade

Medical Definition


cas·​cade (ˌ)kas-ˈkād How to pronounce cascade (audio)
: a molecular, biochemical, or physiological process occurring in a succession of stages each of which is closely related to or depends on the output of the previous stage
a cascade of enzymatic reactions
the cascade of events comprising the immune response

More from Merriam-Webster on cascade

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