View synonyms for dissonant


[ dis-uh-nuhnt ]


  1. disagreeing or harsh in sound; discordant.
  2. out of harmony; incongruous; at variance.

    Synonyms: inconsistent, incongruent, incompatible

  3. Music. characterized by dissonance.


/ ˈdɪsənənt /


  1. discordant; cacophonous
  2. incongruous or discrepant
  3. music characterized by dissonance

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Derived Forms

  • ˈdissonantly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • disso·nant·ly adverb
  • un·disso·nant adjective
  • un·disso·nant·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of dissonant1

1400–50; late Middle English dissonaunte (< Anglo-French ) < Latin dissonant- (stem of dissonāns, present participle of dissonāre to sound harsh), equivalent to disson- (derivative of dissonus discordant; dis- 1, sound 1 ) + -ant- -ant

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Word History and Origins

Origin of dissonant1

C15: from Latin dissonāre to be discordant, from dis- 1+ sonāre to sound

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Example Sentences

In fact, no category is stranger or more dissonant with how America consumed entertainment during our pandemic year than Television Movie.

From Time

This is yet another season that brings a dissonant clash of hope and fear, chaos and progress.

From Time

Neuroscientists still don’t completely understand how this system works, but they think it connects dissonant parts of our brains, which can help us find meaning in our chaotic lives.

An axe shows up in the third act, but The Shining is referenced throughout, especially through Kris Bowers’ shrieking, dissonant score.

From Fortune

Such was the case for 2011’s Crack Up, the band’s first album in six years, in which band leader Robin Pecknold introduced dark, dissonant elements to the bands’ previously pleasant, uplifting sound.

Who became an accomplished concert pianist before she tuned her ear to the more dissonant chords of international relations.

It was something more than harsh and dissonant, and it betrayed no lack of skill.

Dissonant music that might otherwise be found in a Kubrick film portend to the worst.

Benedict has made nice to Muslims since that dissonant Islam speech, praying at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul in 2006.

It produced comparatively little foundation tone and a powerful chord of harmonics, many of them dissonant.

No Russian, whose dissonant, consonant name Almost rattles to fragments the trumpet of fame?Postscript.

Christmas, too, closed, and the steeples no longer jangled forth a dissonant peal.

Practise dissonant chords until they please the ear in spite of their sharpness.

It was followed by shouts of dissonant laughter, unlike the cheering sounds of human mirth.


Related Words

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More About Dissonant

What does dissonant mean?

Dissonant is an adjective used to describe noise that’s harsh and inharmonious.

It’s also used to describe things that are in stark disagreement or that lack consistency.

In both cases, a close synonym is discordant. The state of being dissonant is dissonance.

In the context of music, dissonant is used to describe a combination of sounds thought to be inharmonious (often ones intentionally composed to be so). Such a combination (or a chord or interval that features such disharmony) is called dissonance.

In psychology, the term cognitive dissonance refers to the unease a person feels when they have two or more contradictory or incompatible beliefs. Such thoughts can be described as dissonant.

Example: Leaders in both factions of the party promised harmony, but so far there has been nothing but dissonant rhetoric.

Where does dissonant come from?

The first records of the word dissonant come from the 1500s. It ultimately derives from the Latin verb dissonāre, meaning “to sound harsh,” from dissonus, meaning “discordant.”

The word dissonant is used in several different contexts, including music, psychology, cultural studies, and poetry. In all cases, it indicates disagreement or discord between different elements. In music, dissonant often describes modern compositions that produce a jarring effect that’s the opposite of harmony. In poetry, dissonant is used to describe poems or lines that use words intended to create a jarring effect, much like in music. This is called dissonance, and it’s the intentional avoidance of assonance—the repetition of the same vowel sounds in different words to create what’s called a vowel rhyme.

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What are some other forms of dissonant?

  • dissonantly (adverb)
  • undissonant (adjective)
  • undissonantly (adverb)
  • dissonance (noun)

What are some synonyms for dissonant?

What are some words that share a root or word element with dissonant


What are some words that often get used in discussing dissonant?

How is dissonant used in real life?

The word dissonant is used in several different specific contexts. It’s also commonly used in a general way.



Try using dissonant!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of dissonant?

A. discordant
B. disharmonious
C. inharmonious
D. harmonious