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[kri-shen-doh, -sen-doh; Italian kre-shen-daw] /krɪˈʃɛn doʊ, -ˈsɛn doʊ; Italian krɛˈʃɛn dɔ/

noun, plural crescendos, crescendi
[kri-shen-dee, -sen-dee; Italian kre-shen-dee] /krɪˈʃɛn di, -ˈsɛn di; Italian krɛˈʃɛn di/ (Show IPA)

a steady increase in force or intensity:
The rain fell in a crescendo on the rooftops.
the climactic point or moment in such an increase; peak:
The authorities finally took action when public outrage reached a crescendo.
adjective, adverb
gradually increasing in force, volume, or loudness (opposed to or ).
verb (used without object)
to grow in force or loudness.
noun (pl) -dos, -di (-dɪ)

a gradual increase in loudness or intensity: the rising crescendo of a song
a peak of noise or intensity: the cheers reached a crescendo
verb -does, -doing, -doed
(intransitive) to increase in loudness or force
with a crescendo

1776 as a musical term, from Italian crescendo “increasing,” from Latin crescendo, ablative of gerund of crescere “to increase” (see crescent). Figurative use is from 1785. As a verb, from 1900.
crescendo [(kruh-shen-doh)]

A musical direction used to indicate increasing loudness.

Note: The term is sometimes used figuratively to indicate rising intensity in general: “As the days went on, there was a crescendo of angry letters about my speech.” Crescendo is also sometimes misused to indicate a peak of intensity, as in, “The angry letters about my speech hit a crescendo on Wednesday.”


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