1. A crescendo, which in Italian means ‘growing’ (from Latin crescere ‘to grow’), is originally a term in music for a gradual increase in loudness or force, or a passage played in this way. From this it developed an extended meaning referring to other cumulative increases in force or effect:

• His second-in-command at the Embassy…was unrattled by the crescendo of disaster to the allied cause —J. Colville, 1976.

In the 1920s, and apparently first in AmE, it developed further to mean the result rather than the process of increasing, and has been widely used as a synonym for peak or climax, notably in phrases such as reach (or rise to) a crescendo:

• In the past week, as the date approached for the annual review of her detention order, international pressure reached a crescendo —Independent, 2007.

The newer use lies in disputed territory, and is likely to prevail as the more commonly required meaning, despite the availability of alternatives such as apogee, climax, culmination, peak, pinnacle, and summit.
2. The plural is crescendos. Crescendo is occasionally used as a verb meaning ‘to increase in loudness or intensity’, and has inflected forms crescendoes, crescendoed, crescendoing.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • crescendo — [ kreʃɛndo; kreʃɛ̃do ] adv. et n. m. • 1775; mot it. « en croissant », de crescere « croître » 1 ♦ Mus. En augmentant progressivement l intensité sonore. ⇒ rinforzando. Passage exécuté crescendo. N. m. Un crescendo. Des crescendo ou des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Crescendo — Crescendo, in musical notation, refers to a passage of music during which the volume gradually increases.It also may mean:In music * A Liverpool based electronic pop band * Crescendo International, a network of Christian classical music… …   Wikipedia

  • crescendo — CRESCÉNDO adv. (Indică modul de executare a unei bucăţi muzicale) Crescând, sporind progresiv în intensitate. ♦ (Substantivat, n.) Creştere progresivă a intensităţii sunetelor produse de voce sau de instrumente muzicale. – cuv. it. Trimis de… …   Dicționar Român

  • crescendo — Ptkl lauter werdend (musikalische Bezeichnung) per. Wortschatz fach. (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus it. crescendo, dem Gerundivum von it. crescere wachsen, zunehmen (aus l. crēscere wachsen zu dessen Sippe s. kreieren).    Ebenso nndl.… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • crescendo — 1. Voz italiana que se usa internacionalmente en el lenguaje musical para indicar que el pasaje al que se refiere debe ejecutarse aumentando gradualmente la intensidad del sonido. Se emplea frecuentemente como sustantivo masculino, con el sentido …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • crescendo — (del italiano; pronunciamos crechendo ) sustantivo masculino 1. Área: música Término musical con el que se indica en el pentagrama que hay que ir aumentando gradualmente la intensidad de los sonidos: Creo que no interpretas bien el crescendo que… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • crescendo — (Voz it.), y esta del lat. crescendo, ger. de crescĕre, crecer). 1. m. Aumento gradual de la intensidad del sonido. 2. Aumento progresivo. in crescendo. loc. adv. Con aumento gradual. El enfado del público fue in crescendo …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Crescendo — (italienisch „anwachsend“) ist die musikalische Vortragsbezeichnung für „lauter werdend“, siehe Dynamik (Musik) Zeitschrift über klassische Musik, siehe crescendo (Zeitschrift) eine von Ernst van Aaken entwickelte Trainingsform mit allmählicher… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Crescendo — (ital., spr. kreschéndo, Mus.), zunehmend, wachsend in der Tonstärke; Zeichen dafür …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • crescendo — 1776 as a musical direction, from It. crescendo increasing, from L. crescendo, abl. of gerund of crescere to increase (see CRESCENT (Cf. crescent)). Figurative use is from 1785. As a verb, from 1900 …   Etymology dictionary

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