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 As the story progresses, full-bodied textures bubble up and crescendo. Cathy Applefeld Olson, Billboard, 25 July 2022 This is delivered in the unpleasant crescendo particular to bad bar bands (that’s bad bands in bad bars, to be clear). Liza Lentini, SPIN, 20 July 2022 Soon, though, the song slowed to a gospel-style interlude before swelling again to a joyous crescendo. Journal Sentinel, 9 July 2022 That crescendo was just so inventive and ultimately so entertaining. Lorraine Alitelevision Critic, Los Angeles Times, 3 July 2022 Black notes repeated from the bedroom crescendo in the primary bath, where a diamond-pattern floor complements black vanity cabinets and a black-and-white freestanding tub. Sally Finder Weepie, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 May 2022 It’s the first increase in gas prices since early March, when turmoil in energy markets hit a crescendo following the invasion of Ukraine. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 20 Apr. 2022 The global hunger crisis is poised to hit a new crescendo, according to an Oxfam report. Chloe Sorvino, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Elections in Kenya since the return of multi-partyism in 1992 have been marred by clashes and hit a crescendo in 2007 when more than 1,300 people died in post-poll violence, while 350,000 others were forced to flee their homes. David Herbling,, 31 Mar. 2022 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

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Crescendo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 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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