Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adverb & adjective With gradually diminishing force or loudness. Used chiefly as a direction.
  • noun A gradual decrease in force or loudness.
  • noun A decrescendo passage.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In music, a gradual diminution of force; a passing from loud to soft: opposed to crescendo, and the same as diminuendo: often indicated by decres., dec., or the sign ⟩.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • (Mus.) With decreasing volume of sound; -- a direction to performers, either written upon the staff (abbreviated Dec., or Decresc.), or indicated by the sign.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun music An instruction to play gradually more softly.
  • verb music To gradually become quieter
  • adjective becoming quieter gradually.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective gradually decreasing in volume
  • noun (music) a gradual decrease in loudness
  • verb grow quieter

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Italian, gerund of decrescere, to decrease, from Latin dēcrēscere; see decrease.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Italian decrescendo.

Examples

  • The scene, she explains is a decrescendo, the denouement of everything that has happened before it; the build up and heyday of Rome; these women becoming trophy brides, the beautiful houses, clothes and hairdos - and it all falls apart.

    Spread ArtCulture: Interview: Eve Sussman - on the making of her film, Rape of the Sabine Women

  • The scene, she explains is a decrescendo, the denouement of everything that has happened before it; the build up and heyday of Rome; these women becoming trophy brides, the beautiful houses, clothes and hairdos - and it all falls apart.

    Spread ArtCulture: Interview: Eve Sussman - on the making of her film, Rape of the Sabine Women

  • Freedom feeds fillip and flames of frenzy in a few freak cases, but if it reaches a more feverish frequency, somebody ought to remind those folks to tone down their rhetorical crescendo to a decrescendo level.

    Pelosi gets emotional about political climate

  • My husband says our name for each other over and over, in a slow decrescendo.

    My Crush on Daniel Ortega

  • Grandpa Favre’ s play as the season wears is known to decrescendo, and this has already been one of the southern slinger’ s worst outings in his illustrious career.

    The interim coach vs. the replacements

  • In The Apple in the Dark, written in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just before she left her marriage, a black humor, conveyed through decrescendo and juxtaposition, is the offsetting fruit:

    The Brazilian Sphinx

  • The cry of birds grew faint, a rapid decrescendo to something less than a whisper.

    Record of a Living Being

  • The cry of birds grew faint, a rapid decrescendo to something less than a whisper.

    Record of a Living Being

  • Perhaps most easily observed, is Obama's way of ending statements with a decrescendo – settling his statement into a soft landing in the deeper part of his baritone range.

    The 'Obama Effect' on Our Language

  • In Mozart's dark-hued Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, Mr. Tao showed appealing freshness in his use of telling, expressive details that distinguish one interpretation from the next -- a slight decrescendo here, a change of tonal color there, a heartfelt response to the piece.

    The Tao of Early Musical Success

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