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.

Definitions of cadence
  1. noun
    (prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse
    synonyms: beat, measure, meter, metre
    see moresee less
    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. noun
    a recurrent rhythmical series
    synonyms: cadency
    see moresee less
    type of:
    rhythmicity
    the rhythmic property imparted by the accents and relative durations of notes in a piece of music
  3. noun
    rise and fall of the voice pitch
    synonyms: intonation, modulation, pitch contour
    see moresee less
    types:
    intonation pattern
    intonations characteristic of questions and requests and statements
    drone, droning, monotone
    an unchanging intonation
    singsong
    a regular and monotonous rising and falling intonation
    type of:
    inflection, prosody
    the patterns of stress and intonation in a language
  4. noun
    the close of a musical section
    see moresee less
    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
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week