[ pol-ee-fon-ik ]

  1. consisting of many voices or sounds.

  2. Music.

    • having two or more voices or parts, each with an independent melody, but all harmonizing; contrapuntal (opposed to homophonic).

    • pertaining to music of this kind.

    • capable of producing more than one tone at a time, as an organ or a harp.

  1. Phonetics. having more than one phonetic value, as the letter s, that is voiced (z) in nose and unvoiced (s) in salt.

Origin of polyphonic

First recorded in 1775–85; polyphone + -ic

Other words from polyphonic

  • pol·y·phon·i·cal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby polyphonic

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use polyphonic in a sentence

  • The easiest solution would have been to use some such polyphonic instrument as the piano or harmonium.

    An Autobiography | Igor Stravinsky

British Dictionary definitions for polyphonic


/ (ˌpɒlɪˈfɒnɪk) /

  1. music composed of relatively independent melodic lines or parts; contrapuntal

  2. many-voiced

  1. phonetics of, relating to, or denoting a polyphone

Derived forms of polyphonic

  • polyphonically, adverb

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