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noun, plural ca·coph·o·nies.
  1. harsh discordance of sound; dissonance: a cacophony of hoots, cackles, and wails.
  2. a discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds: the cacophony produced by city traffic at midday.
  3. Music. frequent use of discords of a harshness and relationship difficult to understand.
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Origin of cacophony

1650–60; < New Latin cacophonia < Greek kakophōnía. See caco-, -phony
Related formscac·o·phon·ic [kak-uh-fon-ik] /ˌkæk əˈfɒn ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cacophony


noun plural -nies
  1. harsh discordant sound; dissonance
  2. the use of unharmonious or dissonant speech sounds in language
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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

Word Origin and History for cacophony


1650s, from Greek kakophonia, from kakophonos "harsh sounding," from kakos "bad, evil" (see caco-) + phone "voice" (see fame (n.)). Related: Cacophonous.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper