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


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

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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 The ride is impressive based on its technical merits, but also excels at creating a sense of anticipation that builds to a crescendo in the ride’s final moments with surprises around nearly every corner. Valerie Marino, Condé Nast Traveler, "Disney World’s Newest Star Wars Ride Completes Its Intergalactic Fantasy Land," 4 Dec. 2019 The clamor reached a crescendo with the shooting and wounding Monday of two Muslims outside a mosque in southwest France by a suspect with past links to the anti-immigration National Rally party., "PARIS — When a far-right French official disrupted a regional council meeting to demand that a Muslim woman accompanying a group of schoolchildren be ordered to remove her headscarf, ‘‘in the name of our secular principles,’’ her own child buried his head in her shoulder and cried.," 31 Oct. 2019 This is when the excitement should be building to a crescendo. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Deer fans hoping Bruins don’t ruin a great opportunity Friday night," 31 Oct. 2019 The clamor reached a crescendo with the shooting and wounding Monday of two Muslims outside a mosque in southwest France by a suspect with past links to the anti-immigration National Rally party. Washington Post, "Muslim headscarf debate divides France, in climate of hate," 30 Oct. 2019 His racing seven-second synthesizer crescendo has accompanied the logo of the Boston public television station WGBH since 1971. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Gershon Kingsley, Master of Electronic Sounds, Dies at 97," 15 Dec. 2019 The entire festive month, which reaches its crescendo with Diwali on Oct. 28, is slated to clock up to $6 billion in sales. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Flipkart and Amazon India sold items worth around $3,000,000,000 in a week," 9 Oct. 2019 Stalin’s ruthless postwar campaign against Soviet Jews was reaching its crescendo. Douglas Smith, WSJ, "Vasily Grossman’s ‘Stalingrad’: Harsh and Sublime," 14 June 2019 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

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

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crescendo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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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

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