cre·​scen·​do | \ krə-ˈshen-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce crescendo (audio) \
plural crescendos also crescendoes or crescendi\ krə-​ˈshen-​dē How to pronounce crescendi (audio) \

Definition of crescendo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a gradual increase a crescendo of excitement specifically : a gradual increase in volume of a musical passage
b : the peak of a gradual increase : climax … complaints about stifling smog conditions reach a crescendoDown Beat
2 : a crescendo musical passage

Definition of crescendo (Entry 2 of 2)

: with an increase in volume used as a direction in music

Illustration of crescendo

Illustration of crescendo


mark indicating crescendo 2

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from crescendo


crescendo intransitive verb

Examples of crescendo in a Sentence

Noun The noise rose to a crescendo. their divorce was merely the formal crescendo of a long period of marital stress and estrangement
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In Week 5, The Browns installed a game plan which stalled the Baltimore Ravens offense, which now sounds like a crescendo of Cleveland’s season. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "How the Browns may try to replace Myles Garrett after losing him indefinitely," 19 Nov. 2019 As the 2019 college football season continues to churn toward its crescendo, Week 12 brings several big matchups that will affect the College Football Playoff picture. Joel Odom, oregonlive, "College football best bets, Week 12: Betting lines, score predictions for Georgia vs. Auburn, Oklahoma vs. Baylor, 19 other games," 15 Nov. 2019 Recognized by Oprah and Country Living magazines as one of the best Halloween celebrations in the United States, the Irvington festival reaches its crescendo Saturday with a street fair and coffin race. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "On Irvington's big Halloween weekend, Black Acre Brewing details expansion plans," 25 Oct. 2019 Eventually, in Beran’s aggrandizing telling, 4chan’s crescendo of furious nihilism delivers President Trump to America. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "WIRED Book of the Month: It Came From Something Awful," 31 July 2019 The second half, which includes the long emotional crescendo of Jesus’s trial, crucifixion, and burial, was by far the stronger. Globe Staff,, "Bushels of Bach at Boston Early Music Festival," 12 June 2019 By midafternoon, 3,000 panicky depositors had withdrawn their money, and 25,000 ghoulish onlookers had gathered to watch, a year after the stock market crashed, the Roaring Twenties conclusively culminate with a thundering crescendo. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "5 New York Buildings That Changed American History," 31 Oct. 2019 Samuel provided an emotional crescendo in Call Me By Your Name (as well as the film adaption) with his monologue expressing total acceptance of his son’s love for another man. Rich Juzwiak, Time, "Call Me By Your Name Sequel," 25 Oct. 2019 And the orchestra matched him in beautifully blended shadings, crescendos resolving in breathtaking quiet. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Denk, SPCO launch season with exquisitely aching Schumann," 14 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crescendo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crescendo


1775, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb or adjective

1807, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for crescendo


borrowed from Italian, noun derivative of crescendo "increasing," gerund of crescere "to increase, grow," going back to Latin crēscere "to come into existence, increase in size or numbers" — more at crescent entry 1

Adverb or adjective

borrowed from Italian — more at crescendo entry 1

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Time Traveler for crescendo

Time Traveler

The first known use of crescendo was in 1775

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Statistics for crescendo

Last Updated

13 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Crescendo.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for crescendo


How to pronounce crescendo (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of crescendo

: a gradual increase in the loudness of a sound or section of music
: the highest or loudest point of something that increases gradually


cre·​scen·​do | \ kri-ˈshen-dō How to pronounce crescendo (audio) \
plural crescendos

Kids Definition of crescendo

: a gradual increase in the loudness of music

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More from Merriam-Webster on crescendo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crescendo

Spanish Central: Translation of crescendo

Nglish: Translation of crescendo for Spanish Speakers

Comments on crescendo

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delight or enjoyment

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