de·​cre·​scen·​do | \ ˌdā-krə-ˈshen-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce decrescendo (audio) \
plural decrescendos

Definition of decrescendo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a gradual decrease in volume of a musical passage
2 : a decrescendo musical passage


adverb or adjective

Definition of decrescendo (Entry 2 of 2)

: with a decrease in volume used as a direction in music

Illustration of decrescendo

Illustration of decrescendo


mark indicating decrescendo 2

In the meaning defined above

Examples of decrescendo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The general idea is that one hand is used to keep time and the other is used to signal expression — bringing in the cellos, encouraging the second violins to play more loudly, reminding the winds of a sudden decrescendo. Washington Post, "What does a conductor do, anyway? A music critic lays it out.," 1 Oct. 2019 Jean-Claude and his men take hold of one another’s forearms to raise their voices together, lifting and darting like birds, then diving in a sudden decrescendo that ends the song by guillotine. National Geographic, "In Corsica, on a quest for beautiful harmony," 24 July 2019 When at long last the volume drops from 11 and Mr. Preston reflects on his 10-year arc, the epilogue is a contemplative decrescendo of hard-won humility and gratitude. Forrest Pritchard, WSJ, "‘The New Farm’ and ‘Fruitful Labor’ Reviews: Betting the Farm on Organic," 13 Apr. 2018 The extended decrescendo ending -- also sans vocals -- is as breathtaking as the build-up. Zach Dionne, Billboard, "Childish Gambino's 15 Best Songs: Critic's Picks," 11 Sep. 2017 In Iraq, the English word hello has become entrenched in the parting protocol, usually as a decrescendo—HELLO, Nour Malas, WSJ, "Iraqis Don’t Know Why You Say Goodbye—They Prefer to Say Hello," 21 Mar. 2017 At a time when Silicon Valley has been forced to publicly grapple with issues of sexism, the decrescendo of Mayer’s tenure is doubly unfortunate; there are so few female leaders in tech, and Mayer was seen by many as a female leader where few exist. Maya Kosoff, The Hive, "The Inevitable Death of the Marissa Mayer Dream," 13 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decrescendo.' 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 decrescendo


1877, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb or adjective

1877, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for decrescendo


Italian, literally, decreasing, from Latin decrescendum, gerund of decrescere

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Time Traveler for decrescendo

Time Traveler

The first known use of decrescendo was in 1877

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Statistics for decrescendo

Cite this Entry

“Decrescendo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for decrescendo


de·​cre·​scen·​do | \ ˌdā-krə-ˈshen-dō How to pronounce decrescendo (audio) \

Kids Definition of decrescendo

: a gradual decrease in the loudness of music

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