1. A waterfall or a series of small waterfalls over steep rocks.
2. Something, such as lace, thought to resemble a waterfall or series of small waterfalls, especially an arrangement or fall of material.
3. A heavy, uncontrolled outpouring: a cascade of abusive comments.
a. A succession of stages, processes, operations, or units.
b. Electronics A series of components or networks, the output of each of which serves as the input for the next.
c. A chemical or physiological process that occurs in successive stages, each of which is dependent on the preceding one, and often producing a cumulative effect: an enzymatic cascade.
v. cas·cad·ed, cas·cad·ing, cas·cades
1. To fall in or as if in a cascade: "Morning glory vines ... cascaded over old-fashioned bamboo lattices" (Mary Yukari Waters).
2. To occur in a sequence or successive stages: circumstances that cascaded into a crisis.
1. To cause to fall in or as if in a cascade: cascaded the ingredients into the bowl.
2. To cause to occur in a sequence or successive stages: wholesale price reductions that are cascaded down to the consumer.
[French, from Italian cascata, from cascare, to fall, from Vulgar Latin *casicāre, from Latin cadere; see kad- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.