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[yoo-nuh-suh n, -zuh n] /ˈyu nə sən, -zən/
coincidence in pitch of two or more musical tones, voices, etc.
the musical interval of a perfect prime.
the performance of musical parts at the same pitch or at the octave.
a sounding together in octaves, especially of male and female voices or of higher and lower instruments of the same class.
a process in which all elements behave in the same way at the same time; simultaneous or synchronous parallel action:
to march in unison.
in unison, in perfect accord; corresponding exactly:
My feelings on the subject are in unison with yours.
Origin of unison
1565-75; < Medieval Latin ūnisonus of a single sound, equivalent to Latin ūni- uni- + sonus sound
Related forms
nonunison, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unison
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is desirable to have these experiments at least worked by the class in unison.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • Their hands met and clasped fervently and, again in unison, they said, “Thank God!”

    The Plunderer Roy Norton
  • "We will try it again," said he, and this time led the voices all in unison.

    Gilian The Dreamer Neil Munro
  • There is not a circumstance but is in unison with the wild grandeur of the scene.

    A Tour in Ireland Arthur Young
  • Then, in unison, both earthquake and wind died to absolute quiescence.

    Wind Charles Louis Fontenay
British Dictionary definitions for unison


/ˈjuːnɪsən; -zən/
  1. the interval between two sounds of identical pitch
  2. (modifier) played or sung at the same pitch: unison singing
complete agreement; harmony (esp in the phrase in unison)
Derived Forms
unisonous, unisonal, unisonant, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin ūnisonus, from uni- + sonus sound


(in Britain) a trade union representing local government, health care, and other workers: formed in 1993 by the amalgamation of COHSE, NALGO, and NUPE
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unison

1570s, from Middle French unisson "unison, accord of sound" (16c.), from Medieval Latin unisonus "having one sound, sounding the same," from Late Latin unisonius "in immediate sequence in the scale, monotonous," from Latin uni- "one" (see one) + sonus "sound" (see sound (n.1)). Sense of "harmonious agreement" is first attested 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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unison in Culture

unison definition

Playing or singing the same musical notes, or notes separated from each other by one or several octaves. Musicians who perform in unison are not playing or singing chords.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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