Music A gradual increase, especially in the volume or intensity of sound in a passage. Music A passage played with a gradual increase in volume or intensity. A steady increase in intensity or force: "insisted [that] all paragraphs ... should be structured as a crescendo rising to a climactic last sentence\u201d ( Henry A. Kissinger). Usage Problem The climactic point or moment after such a progression: "The attacks ... began in December ... and reached a crescendo during [the president's] September visit\u201d ( Foreign Affairs). Gradually increasing in volume, force, or intensity. Music With a crescendo. To build up to or reach a point of great intensity, force, or volume: "The designer-name craze crescendoed in the mid-seventies\u201d ( Bernice Kanner).