cadence

The word cadence has its own lovely cadence — rhythm of sound as it's spoken.

Cadence has come to mean "the rhythm of sounds" from its root cadere which means "to fall." Originally designating falling tones especially at the end of lines of music or poetry, cadence broadened to mean the rhythms of the tones and sometimes even the rhythm of sounds in general. Think of the cadence of the marching band at a football game or the cadence of the crickets on a warm spring night. You can remember the "fall" idea by thinking of one of the only words that contains it — decadence — which has the prefix de- at the front to mean down, or downfall.

Primary Meanings of cadence

1.
n
(prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse
2.
n
a recurrent rhythmical series
3.
n
the close of a musical section
Full Definitions of cadence
1

n (prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse

Synonyms:
beat, measure, meter, metre
Types:
show 11 types...
hide 11 types...
catalexis
the absence of a syllable in the last foot of a line or verse
scansion
analysis of verse into metrical patterns
common measure, common meter
the usual (iambic) meter of a ballad
foot, metrical foot, metrical unit
(prosody) a group of 2 or 3 syllables forming the basic unit of poetic rhythm
dactyl
a metrical unit with stressed-unstressed-unstressed syllables
iamb, iambus
a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables
anapaest, anapest
a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed-stressed syllables
amphibrach
a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed-unstressed syllables (e.g., `remember')
trochee
a metrical unit with stressed-unstressed syllables
spondee
a metrical unit with stressed-stressed syllables
dibrach, pyrrhic
a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed syllables
Type of:
poetic rhythm, prosody, rhythmic pattern
(prosody) a system of versification
2

n a recurrent rhythmical series

Synonyms:
cadency
Type of:
rhythmicity
the rhythmic property imparted by the accents and relative durations of notes in a piece of music
3

n the close of a musical section

Types:
amen cadence, plagal cadence
a cadence (frequently ending church music) in which the chord of the subdominant precedes the chord of the tonic
Type of:
musical passage, passage
a short section of a musical composition

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.