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


adverb or adjective

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

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 The song reached its rock crescendo as the siblings jammed out onstage above the aforementioned set, joined by a full drum kit. Hilton Dresden, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Apr. 2022 An excellent rendition, and the first of many jolts. Starting a show with what would ordinarily be your crescendo — your top hit, the name of the album, the name of this tour — would seem like a setup for letdown. Rory Appleton, The Indianapolis Star, 23 Mar. 2022 Zaritska’s set at SXSW reached its crescendo when local legend Charlie Sexton, a guitarist who served as Bob Dylan’s regular lieutenant since the dawn of the 21st Century, joined the singer for a pointed finale. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rolling Stone, 20 Mar. 2022 By the aughts, pop culture was awash in a yearning for the ’80s—an epoch that saw, perhaps, its final crescendo with the debut of Stranger Things in 2016. Angela Watercutter, Wired, 16 Jan. 2022 Matters come to a head when God tells Abraham to take his son to Moriah – the place where the covenantal promise reaches its crescendo (Genesis 22:2). Rabbi Avi Weiss,, 18 Oct. 2021 Taymour was one of many designers to pivot to non-medical face mask production with the goal of giving back as the coronavirus crisis hit its devastating crescendo. Amanda Randone,, 3 Aug. 2021 Edman scored to tiebreaking run, the standing ovation hit its crescendo, and Wainwright patted Sano on the back at first base. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, 1 Aug. 2021 And as Villarreal looks to reach its competitive crescendo in this year’s showpiece game, his connection to the club is as strong as ever. Henry Flynn, Forbes, 25 May 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About crescendo

Time Traveler for crescendo

Time Traveler

The first known use of crescendo was in 1775

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Dictionary Entries Near crescendo



crescendo pedal

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Statistics for crescendo

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Crescendo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for crescendo


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

More from Merriam-Webster on crescendo

Nglish: Translation of crescendo for Spanish Speakers


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