Crescendo

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Crescendo is a word that is often misused by writers (and speakers) who do not understand its meaning, which is, properly, very precise.

Crescendo is a technical term in music. It is the name of a process, or the notation of the process. (In Italian, its language of origin, it means simply 'growing'. In music, it means 'growing in loudness'. The opposite, 'a gradual lessening in loudness, is a diminuendo. Both of these are processes, not outcomes: the outcomes are loudness (forte and quietness (piano), respectively.

It follows that one cannot reach a crescendo: one can reach a climax, or a peak, or a maximum. Reaching these ends often involves the process of a crescendo, but the crescendo is the journey towards a destination, not the destination itself.

Crescendo, being like many musical terms of Italian origins, is pronounced its '-sc-' as a '-sh-' sound: 'cre-SHEN-dough', IPA: /kre (or ə) ˈʃɛn do (or əʊ)/.