Definition of cascade in US English:



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

    • ‘We headed off down Pierce's Passage and over a muddy boulder slope until we reached some cascades.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The end of the road for most expeditions comes at New's Pools, a series of cascades at 7,500 feet.’
    • ‘Straight away you get the Redmire Force waterfall, a series of cascades across the wide flow.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Small waterfalls and cascades are good for this, as they provide many different compositions within a small area.’
    • ‘At the 20-sqm site, naked bathers can stand, sit or lie in the spring under a series of cascades flowing down the mountain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 aquatic plants typically grow on rocks in cascades, waterfalls and rapids where there are great seasonal fluctuations in river water levels.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The park will also have cascades and waterfalls to provide a cool, relaxing place to nearly 280 families of army personnel.’
    • ‘The water falls from the cliff about 2.5 miles long and makes some 275 individual cascades and waterfalls.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘YS Falls is a breathtaking series of cascades fringed by rainforest foliage where you can plunge right in to refreshing pools.’
    • ‘Miniature ravines, waterfalls and cascades created effervescent sounds as the water gushed between the rocks.’
    waterfall, falls, water chute, cataract, rapids, torrent, flood, deluge, outpouring, white water, fountain, shower, avalanche
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    1. 1.1 A mass of something that falls or hangs in copious or luxuriant quantities.
      ‘a cascade of pink bougainvillea’
      • ‘Bougainvillea cascades, aromas waft, music and laughter fill the air.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Where Antilla had a red cascade of curls, Dyana's hair was midnight black and waved gently.’
      • ‘Lashana sighed and hung her head, letting her hair cascade down to hide her face.’
      • ‘Suddenly a door slammed and a cascade of bougainvillea quivered.’
      • ‘Louisa walked up the aisle in a lavish full-length dress that featured a cascade of layers of pink tulle.’
      • ‘Her hair curled into a beautiful cascade on her bare shoulders.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Outside, bougainvillea in full bloom cascades down a wall beside a pool.’
      • ‘Seething, Eden slammed her hands onto the table, her cascade of red curls falling across the front of her shoulders.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The high ceiling was draped in more curtains, hanging down in billowing cascades of color.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Tayib caught the cascade of Marissa's long red curls in his hands, feeling the softness of her 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A string of pearls tinged pink sat at her throat and her hair was artfully done in a cascade of 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.’
      mass, mane, mop, thatch, head, crop, bush, cloud, frizz, fuzz, foam, curls, tangle, chaos, quiff, halo
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    2. 1.2 A large number or amount of something occurring or arriving in rapid succession.
      ‘a cascade of antiwar literature’
      • ‘Next, patient information handouts are sent to the editorial staff at the AAFP headquarters, where a staff manuscript editor initiates a cascade of reviews.’
      • ‘That earnings slip triggered a cascade of problems.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And this has triggered a cascade of problems, persuading the organisation to take up their cause.’
      • ‘One click can trigger a cascade of actions without requiring the user to open new programs or visit other sites.’
      • ‘Though I hardly understood the process, the question triggered a cascade of impressions about a person in a debilitated state of health.’
      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’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘In our context, a greater number of recent adopters implies that an information cascade is likely to have occurred.’
    • ‘There are larger issues that need to be taken care of for a cascade effect to be apparent.’
    • ‘There is an argument that raising the retirement age would have a cascade effect on younger workers.’
    • ‘This decrease in quality will have a cascade effect on discipline within the ranks, degrading combat effectiveness for these units.’
    • ‘It knows more than a public body can because of the cascade of knowledge that is a market.’
    • ‘Moreover, in contrast to adoptions, we did not find information cascades for abandonment.’
    • ‘Then over the past year a succession of disappointing results from companies have created a cascade effect.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This can lead to an information cascade that can go against rational self-informed decision making.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Every second, occurrences spark cascades of references, memories and related information.’
    • ‘This could create an information cascade, and hasten events that might better be left postponed.’
    • ‘The wife's questioning is swift and incisive, causing her husband first to reveal a trickle of information, then a cascade.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As a result of the Internet, cascade effects are more common than they have ever been before.’
    1. 2.1 A succession of devices or stages in a process, each of which triggers or initiates the next.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Stimulation of this receptor initiates the cascade of events that eventually results in the repair of muscle and growth of new muscle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This initiates a cascade of reactions within the cells resulting in the production of proteins on the cell surfaces.’
      • ‘This catabolic state triggers a cascade of events that reduces the protective muscle and fat stores.’
      • ‘An oxygen sensor is capable of directly detecting oxygen availability and subsequently triggering a signalling cascade.’
      • ‘Spinal cord injuries trigger a cascade of inflammatory changes that add further insult to the initial injury.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The consumption of too much fat prevents your body from properly using carbohydrates, initiating the cascade of problems mentioned above.’
      • ‘Once it finds and binds to a target receptor, a ripple-like cascade of events is initiated inside that cell.’
      • ‘They do this by interfering with an enzyme that triggers a cascade of reactions that drives the production of cytokines and inflammation.’
      • ‘Hyperglycemic states trigger a cascade of events that lead to an increase in vascular tone.’
      • ‘The whole process is a complicated cascade of events that Sheen and her colleagues are continuing to unravel.’
      • ‘At puberty, hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis activity increases, initiating a cascade of physiological events.’


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

    ‘water was cascading down the stairs’
    • ‘Water cascading down the brook, artificial of course, added its own music to the place.’
    • ‘There was a sloshing sound as freezing brook water cascaded from above.’
    • ‘Not only was the water cascading down the walls of the well, but there was also an irrigation ditch barely 60 feet away.’
    • ‘With water cascading down from a height of 4,500 ft. and splitting into five smaller falls, the Kempty waterfalls offers a panoramic view.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The pools would be fed by water cascading down the walls that enclose them.’
    • ‘The first thing she heard when she came awake was the rush of water cascading down.’
    • ‘To finish off the breathtaking site, a fountain of stone stood in the center, water gently cascading down the rock in the center.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Water was also cascading down Worth Way itself.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As we emerged near the base of the waterfall we had an opportunity to get a good look at the water cascading down.’
    • ‘Marco turned around, the salty water from his eyes cascading down his nose.’
    • ‘Water cascaded from the eaves onto the remaining students as they ran towards the parking lot.’
    • ‘Shaped like a stylized step pyramid with highly irregular contours, the fountain sends water cascading down a series of narrow troughs.’
    • ‘He heard nothing but water cascading down the stairs.’
    • ‘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 new hydro-electric plant will consist of turbines with 19 inch steel blades driven by water cascading down an existing weir.’
    • ‘I walked through the waterfall and up the stairs (which also had water cascading down them).’
    pour, gush, surge, spill, stream, flow, issue, spurt, jet
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    1. 1.1 Fall or hang in copious or luxuriant quantities.
      ‘blonde hair cascaded down her back’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Asbestos from the roof cascaded down on to looms during the blaze which broke out while the plant was on holiday.’
      • ‘The flour cascaded down in ribbon plumes of white instead of descending straight from a barely elevated sifter.’
      • ‘Dark blonde curls fell all around her face and cascaded down her back down to her bottom.’
      • ‘As the children collected their awards, accompanied by their proud parents and grandparents, a shower of coloured balloons cascaded down and around them.’
      • ‘She let her head hang down and her velvet, ebony hair cascaded down her shoulders.’
      • ‘My wet curls cascaded down my back in a chestnut waterfall, falling to my waist and dripping down my legs.’
      • ‘Celebrate the arrival of spring with bright, colorful flowers cascading over the edges of your favorite container.’
      • ‘I found Damien standing in the middle of the cell, his long black hair cascading over his shoulders.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I let it down into loose curls that cascaded down my back and hung in all the right places.’
      • ‘The plate was the size of a large saucer and had fresh flowers cascading over the side of it.’
      • ‘She had the deepest of deep green eyes, and long curled blonde hair that fell about her shoulders loosely and cascaded down her back.’
      • ‘As she looked up, her blonde hair cascading over her shoulders, she saw a tall strangely familiar man standing in front of her.’
      • ‘A lot of rubble and glass cascaded down from the blast.’
      • ‘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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  • 2with object Arrange (a number of devices or objects) in a series or sequence.

    • ‘In addition, switches can be cascaded together.’
    • ‘Up to four units can be cascaded, providing a scalable solution.’
    • ‘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.’


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