[ dis-uh-nuh ns ]
/ ˈdɪs ə nəns /


inharmonious or harsh sound; discord; cacophony.
  1. a simultaneous combination of tones conventionally accepted as being in a state of unrest and needing completion.
  2. an unresolved, discordant chord or interval.Compare consonance(def 3).
disagreement or incongruity.

Nearby words

  1. dissolutely,
  2. dissolution,
  3. dissolve,
  4. dissolvent,
  5. dissolving view,
  6. dissonancy,
  7. dissonant,
  8. dissonantly,
  9. disspirit,
  10. disspread

Origin of dissonance

1565–75; < Late Latin dissonantia, equivalent to disson- (see dissonant) + -antia -ance

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dissonance

British Dictionary definitions for dissonance



/ (ˈdɪsənəns) /


a discordant combination of sounds
lack of agreement or consistency
  1. a sensation commonly associated with all intervals of the second and seventh, all diminished and augmented intervals, and all chords based on these intervalsCompare consonance (def. 3)
  2. an interval or chord of this kind
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 dissonance



early 15c., "disagreement," from Middle French dissonance and directly from Late Latin dissonantia, from Latin dissonantem (see dissonant). Figurative use dates from 1875.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper