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


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 uproar will reach a crescendo next week as the Legislature takes its final votes on AB 5. Los Angeles Times, "A fierce battle over defining employees in California nears decisive vote," 7 Sep. 2019 Ijeoma Oluo has experienced a crescendo of harassment after voicing her swatting frustrations on Twitter. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "Swatting Is a Deadly Problem—Here's the Solution," 22 Aug. 2019 Justin Donnelly—a designer based in Brooklyn and cofounder, with architect Monling Lee, of the studio Jumbo—has been charting the crescendo of cute furniture over the past few years. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Cute furniture is a reprieve from our age of anxiety," 7 Aug. 2019 Yet last year, during the 2018 presidential election that swept far-right demagogue Jair Bolsonaro to power, falsehoods like this one built into a crescendo that distorted political conversations beyond any semblance of reality. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, "Propaganda spread by data “bombs” pushed Brazil’s far-right president to power," 10 July 2019 The 2019 Women's World Cup marks the glorious crescendo of years of sacrifice, grit, sweat, blood and tears for the women representing the 24 qualified nations in France., "Women's World Cup: An Inside Look Into This Summer's Tournament & the Global Game With Nike," 8 June 2019 Frustration reached a crescendo in January when Issel suddenly resigned, despite an 18-16 record. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "2019 Rockies? 1999 Broncos? Ranking Colorado’s most-disappointing pro sports seasons," 25 Aug. 2019 But outrage over the film did not reach a crescendo until last week, when the movie became a hot topic across Fox News networks with hosts including Fox Business hosts Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs and Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. Jen Yamatostaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Universal cancels ‘The Hunt’ release in wake of mass shootings and Trump scrutiny," 10 Aug. 2019 The administration's move comes as the industry is facing a crescendo of consumer complaints over prices, as well as legislation from both parties in Congress to rein in costs. NBC News, "U.S. to set up plan allowing prescription drugs from Canada," 31 July 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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Statistics for crescendo

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crescendo

The first known use of crescendo was in 1775

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More Definitions for crescendo



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

What made you want to look up crescendo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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