Definition of cascade in English:



  • 1A small waterfall, typically one of several that fall in stages down a steep rocky slope.

    ‘the waterfall raced down in a series of cascades’
    • ‘Miniature ravines, waterfalls and cascades created effervescent sounds as the water gushed between the rocks.’
    • ‘The air was fresh, yet warm for the season of the year and scented with leaves, earth and cool water falling down in glimmering cascades.’
    • ‘The water falls from the cliff about 2.5 miles long and makes some 275 individual cascades and waterfalls.’
    • ‘The premier attraction of Ocho Rios - and probably of the entire island - drops 600 feet to the seacoast in a series of cascades two miles west of the town centre.’
    • ‘The end of the road for most expeditions comes at New's Pools, a series of cascades at 7,500 feet.’
    • ‘A man made rock face rising 60 feet out of the lake that borders the right side of the fairway has been created complete with a series of waterfalls and cascades that lead to a heavily bunkered green.’
    • ‘We headed off down Pierce's Passage and over a muddy boulder slope until we reached some cascades.’
    • ‘Straight away you get the Redmire Force waterfall, a series of cascades across the wide flow.’
    • ‘The aquatic plants typically grow on rocks in cascades, waterfalls and rapids where there are great seasonal fluctuations in river water levels.’
    • ‘The park will also have cascades and waterfalls to provide a cool, relaxing place to nearly 280 families of army personnel.’
    • ‘Small waterfalls and cascades are good for this, as they provide many different compositions within a small area.’
    • ‘Tumbling down slopes near Wawona at the south end of the park, Chilnualna Creek - at its fattest and fastest this time of year - creates a series of foaming cascades around giant boulders.’
    • ‘Shunmin adds that even the high waterfalls from the peaks of Mt. Hua or the rushing cascades of Mt. Luliang cannot be compared to the humble water mill, because the mill takes so little and gives so much.’
    • ‘YS Falls is a breathtaking series of cascades fringed by rainforest foliage where you can plunge right in to refreshing pools.’
    • ‘It also contains a series of waterfalls and cascades to further enhance the beauty of a hole that is certain to generate a lot of comment throughout the week.’
    • ‘There were other falls, other cascades and exciting spurts of white water in the canyon, and also quiet stretches so clear that each stone lay as if painted on the creek bed.’
    • ‘At the 20-sqm site, naked bathers can stand, sit or lie in the spring under a series of cascades flowing down the mountain.’
    • ‘All the while the North Fork of the Crystal is our companion, running full and proud, bursting down a series of cascades in a display straight out of a wilderness dream.’
    waterfall, falls, water chute, cataract, rapids, torrent, flood, deluge, outpouring, white water, fountain, shower, avalanche
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    1. 1.1A mass of something that falls or hangs in copious quantities.
      ‘a cascade of pink bougainvillea’
      • ‘Lashana sighed and hung her head, letting her hair cascade down to hide her face.’
      • ‘Then, she gathered her hair into a pony-tail, flipped it around, and fastened it to the back of her head so it spilled over the clip in a cascade of soft blonde curls.’
      • ‘Aaralyn came a second later, wearing a black version of Ilandere's dress, hair pinned back in a cascade of ebony curls.’
      • ‘I took out the formal bun in her hair, and in less than a half an hour she had cascades of rich curls, and her black hair became shiny.’
      • ‘Outside, bougainvillea in full bloom cascades down a wall beside a pool.’
      • ‘Suddenly a door slammed and a cascade of bougainvillea quivered.’
      • ‘The windows themselves had faded white painted frames with rotting wood and green mildew and hanging baskets with spring flowers flowing out creating a pink cascade.’
      • ‘Bougainvillea cascades, aromas waft, music and laughter fill the air.’
      • ‘Aleena brushed her hair out of her eyes; the red cascade had freed itself from her pony and now hung around her face in soft red locks.’
      • ‘She had the hazel, walnut eyes under thick lashes, shoulder-length dark brunette hair that fell in a cascade of natural curls, and a slightly crooked smile that made guys melt.’
      • ‘Tayib caught the cascade of Marissa's long red curls in his hands, feeling the softness of her locks.’
      • ‘The high ceiling was draped in more curtains, hanging down in billowing cascades of color.’
      • ‘Louisa walked up the aisle in a lavish full-length dress that featured a cascade of layers of pink tulle.’
      • ‘Her hair gleams red - Tristan can't tell if it's natural, or if the overhead lights are helping turn it that remarkable shade of copper-gold - and cascades in curls and waves down her back.’
      • ‘Of course, the long cascade of heavy hair that hung around her, blue and motionless as the walls, might have something to do with that, too.’
      • ‘A string of pearls tinged pink sat at her throat and her hair was artfully done in a cascade of curls.’
      • ‘And there were stands of shrubs that seemed loaded with dark red nodules that looked to be very hard, and others with flowers from which a cascade of tiny black bulbs hung from white tendrils.’
      • ‘Her hair curled into a beautiful cascade on her bare shoulders.’
      • ‘Seething, Eden slammed her hands onto the table, her cascade of red curls falling across the front of her shoulders.’
      • ‘Where Antilla had a red cascade of curls, Dyana's hair was midnight black and waved gently.’
      mass, mane, mop, thatch, head, crop, bush, cloud, frizz, fuzz, foam, curls, tangle, chaos, quiff, halo
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    2. 1.2A large number or amount of something occurring at the same time.
      ‘a cascade of anti-war literature’
      • ‘That earnings slip triggered a cascade of problems.’
      • ‘One click can trigger a cascade of actions without requiring the user to open new programs or visit other sites.’
      • ‘Next, patient information handouts are sent to the editorial staff at the AAFP headquarters, where a staff manuscript editor initiates a cascade of reviews.’
      • ‘For the first time ever, the group has rolled out a pay-for-performance bonus plan for business leaders, which has triggered a cascade of complaints from those who went unrewarded.’
      • ‘Though I hardly understood the process, the question triggered a cascade of impressions about a person in a debilitated state of health.’
      • ‘And this has triggered a cascade of problems, persuading the organisation to take up their cause.’
      barrage, volley
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  • 2A process whereby something, typically information or knowledge, is successively passed on.

    [as modifier] ‘the greater the number of people who are well briefed, the wider the cascade effect’
    • ‘There is an argument that raising the retirement age would have a cascade effect on younger workers.’
    • ‘This can lead to an information cascade that can go against rational self-informed decision making.’
    • ‘As a result of the Internet, cascade effects are more common than they have ever been before.’
    • ‘The wife's questioning is swift and incisive, causing her husband first to reveal a trickle of information, then a cascade.’
    • ‘Then over the past year a succession of disappointing results from companies have created a cascade effect.’
    • ‘‘The knock-on effect of buying locally would have a cascade effect on the local economy and would help a range of local businesses,’ he said.’
    • ‘There are larger issues that need to be taken care of for a cascade effect to be apparent.’
    • ‘A single question, on the phone or in an email, unleashes a cascade of information; once she's leaped into her story, she can't seem to stop.’
    • ‘In our context, a greater number of recent adopters implies that an information cascade is likely to have occurred.’
    • ‘Moreover, in contrast to adoptions, we did not find information cascades for abandonment.’
    • ‘Traffic slows, has difficulty getting past, street gets blocked; this creates a cascade effect that can and does reach out for miles at peak times.’
    • ‘You sometimes get a cascade effect where Britain is most expensive, then you have the Continent and then you get the United States, where prices are the cheapest.’
    • ‘This decrease in quality will have a cascade effect on discipline within the ranks, degrading combat effectiveness for these units.’
    • ‘This could create an information cascade, and hasten events that might better be left postponed.’
    • ‘It knows more than a public body can because of the cascade of knowledge that is a market.’
    • ‘Every second, occurrences spark cascades of references, memories and related information.’
    • ‘Computers would make maths more satisfying too, even in as minor a way as the thrill of devising the correct formula in Excel and then watching the resulting cascade effect in a spreadsheet.’
    1. 2.1A succession of devices or stages in a process, each of which triggers or initiates the next.
      • ‘Compelling evidence now suggests that inflammation can trigger a cascade of responses that culminate in tissue destruction that is characteristic of this disease.’
      • ‘Placement of the sticker initiates a cascade of activities designed to ensure that pain is managed appropriately.’
      • ‘Spinal cord injuries trigger a cascade of inflammatory changes that add further insult to the initial injury.’
      • ‘The whole process is a complicated cascade of events that Sheen and her colleagues are continuing to unravel.’
      • ‘But they are still seeking to identify what triggered a cascade of power plant shutdowns that created havoc throughout the region as transport systems, services and businesses closed down.’
      • ‘Moving a single molecule initiates a cascade of molecule motions, just as toppling a single domino can cause a large pattern to fall in sequence.’
      • ‘They do this by interfering with an enzyme that triggers a cascade of reactions that drives the production of cytokines and inflammation.’
      • ‘This catabolic state triggers a cascade of events that reduces the protective muscle and fat stores.’
      • ‘At puberty, hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis activity increases, initiating a cascade of physiological events.’
      • ‘Stimulation of this receptor initiates the cascade of events that eventually results in the repair of muscle and growth of new muscle.’
      • ‘The consumption of too much fat prevents your body from properly using carbohydrates, initiating the cascade of problems mentioned above.’
      • ‘An oxygen sensor is capable of directly detecting oxygen availability and subsequently triggering a signalling cascade.’
      • ‘This initiates a cascade of reactions within the cells resulting in the production of proteins on the cell surfaces.’
      • ‘Once it finds and binds to a target receptor, a ripple-like cascade of events is initiated inside that cell.’
      • ‘Hyperglycemic states trigger a cascade of events that lead to an increase in vascular tone.’


  • 1[no object, with adverbial of direction] (of water) pour downwards rapidly and in large quantities.

    ‘water was cascading down the stairs’
    • ‘The driveway then curves up a slight rise and the eye is caught by a rock structure on the right, with water cascading down the rocks, over the brick driveway and into a fish pond on the other side, with lawns adding elegance.’
    • ‘Marco turned around, the salty water from his eyes cascading down his nose.’
    • ‘Water cascading down the brook, artificial of course, added its own music to the place.’
    • ‘I walked through the waterfall and up the stairs (which also had water cascading down them).’
    • ‘Shaped like a stylized step pyramid with highly irregular contours, the fountain sends water cascading down a series of narrow troughs.’
    • ‘There was a sloshing sound as freezing brook water cascaded from above.’
    • ‘The new hydro-electric plant will consist of turbines with 19 inch steel blades driven by water cascading down an existing weir.’
    • ‘He heard nothing but water cascading down the stairs.’
    • ‘Not only was the water cascading down the walls of the well, but there was also an irrigation ditch barely 60 feet away.’
    • ‘Every night of late, I've been listening to the sounds of water cascading down rocks and the splash of ocean waves coming in with the tide.’
    • ‘Water was also cascading down Worth Way itself.’
    • ‘The pools would be fed by water cascading down the walls that enclose them.’
    • ‘Water cascaded from the eaves onto the remaining students as they ran towards the parking lot.’
    • ‘The first thing she heard when she came awake was the rush of water cascading down.’
    • ‘With water cascading down from a height of 4,500 ft. and splitting into five smaller falls, the Kempty waterfalls offers a panoramic view.’
    • ‘Heading up the final section of the pitch, the way on is through a low, flat-out bedding plane leading directly onto the next pitch, complete with water cascading down.’
    • ‘The view into Alum was stunning, with the suns rays beaming through the water cascading down the sheer walls.’
    • ‘It has full-size trees, sand banks leading down to a stony beach, and water cascading down a rock outcrop.’
    • ‘To finish off the breathtaking site, a fountain of stone stood in the center, water gently cascading down the rock in the center.’
    • ‘As we emerged near the base of the waterfall we had an opportunity to get a good look at the water cascading down.’
    pour, gush, surge, spill, stream, flow, issue, spurt, jet
    tumble, descend, fall, drop, plunge, pitch
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    1. 1.1Fall or hang in copious quantities.
      ‘blonde hair cascaded down her back’
      • ‘Her hat, a small page boy hat fell from her head and long blonde tendrils cascaded down her shoulders as she tried to keep her balance.’
      • ‘There are no cars in sight, so one could imagine feeling free to amble about, talk easily, smell the colourful flowers cascading over the whitewashed stone walls, and enjoy a glass of wine at an outdoor street café.’
      • ‘Beautiful, wavy red hair cascaded down her back and contrasted sharply with the stark white mask she wore.’
      • ‘As she looked up, her blonde hair cascading over her shoulders, she saw a tall strangely familiar man standing in front of her.’
      • ‘The plate was the size of a large saucer and had fresh flowers cascading over the side of it.’
      • ‘She let her head hang down and her velvet, ebony hair cascaded down her shoulders.’
      • ‘I stood between my brothers at the bottom of the staircase in our house, dressed in a long dark green spaghetti-strap satin gown, my long dark hair cascading over my shoulders in waves.’
      • ‘My wet curls cascaded down my back in a chestnut waterfall, falling to my waist and dripping down my legs.’
      • ‘The flour cascaded down in ribbon plumes of white instead of descending straight from a barely elevated sifter.’
      • ‘As the children collected their awards, accompanied by their proud parents and grandparents, a shower of coloured balloons cascaded down and around them.’
      • ‘A lot of rubble and glass cascaded down from the blast.’
      • ‘Asbestos from the roof cascaded down on to looms during the blaze which broke out while the plant was on holiday.’
      • ‘I let it down into loose curls that cascaded down my back and hung in all the right places.’
      • ‘I found Damien standing in the middle of the cell, his long black hair cascading over his shoulders.’
      • ‘She had the deepest of deep green eyes, and long curled blonde hair that fell about her shoulders loosely and cascaded down her back.’
      • ‘She was already well on her way to becoming an amazon beauty, with long slender legs, perfect, glowing skin and light brown hair with copper streaks cascading over her broad shoulders.’
      • ‘Dark blonde curls fell all around her face and cascaded down her back down to her bottom.’
      • ‘Celebrate the arrival of spring with bright, colorful flowers cascading over the edges of your favorite container.’
      • ‘In that month and into October, this plant from the Orient will lighten up a partly shaded area of my rock garden, its graceful stems cascading over a rock.’
      • ‘This variety would also make a great container plant, perhaps mixed with some trailing blue lobelia and white sweet alyssum cascading over the edges of your favorite container.’
      drop, drop down, plummet, descend, come down, go down, plunge, sink, dive, nosedive, tumble, pitch
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  • 2[with object] Pass (something) on to a succession of others.

    ‘teachers who are able to cascade their experience effectively’
    • ‘I should like all to play their part in addressing this company-wide challenge, so please cascade my instructions accordingly.’
    • ‘It was attended by 1,200 people ‘who went back and cascaded the knowledge because they were senior to middle management.’’
    • ‘Indeed so wealthy was I with material that I felt compelled to cascade it in your general direction.’
    • ‘I hope to cascade adult learning to other outreach centres during the coming terms.’
    • ‘She was on a management seminar yesterday and spent this morning downwardly cascading the key points to an indifferent audience of Terry, Mike, Ash, Zippy and me.’
    • ‘We are doing some training in Austria of their people so they can start cascading the operating principles down to their organizations.’
  • 3[with object] Arrange (a number of devices or objects) in a series or sequence.

    • ‘You can create a slope effect by arranging your plants to cascade down from your tallest plant.’
    • ‘The Italian boys simply cascaded a few of these basic systems to make their very effective demo.’
    • ‘Up to four units can be cascaded, providing a scalable solution.’
    • ‘In addition, switches can be cascaded together.’


Mid 17th century: from French, from Italian cascata, from cascare to fall, based on Latin casus (see case).