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noun ca·coph·o·ny \ka-ˈkä-fə-nē, -ˈkȯ- also -ˈka-\

Simple Definition of cacophony

  • : unpleasant loud sounds

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of cacophony



  1. :  harsh or discordant sound :  dissonance 2; specifically :  harshness in the sound of words or phrases

Examples of cacophony in a sentence

  1. The cacophony of phlegmatic and tubercular lungs was punctuated here and there by a moan or a scream of someone terrified, thrashing in the throes of a nightmare. —Ronald Gearles, Undoing Time, 2001

  2. Seething gas just beneath the sun's visible surface generates a cacophony of sound waves that ring the sun like a giant bell. —R. Cowen, Science News, 18 Mar. 2000

  3. Shell casings littered the highway, where a cacophony of car alarms and sobbing rent the winter air. —Jeff Stein, GQ, December 1997

  4. … no matter how forbearing he might have been, there were times when he simply needed to escape that cacophony of piping voices … —T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Road to Wellville, 1993

  5. The sounds of barking dogs and sirens added to the cacophony on the streets.

  6. <the cacophony of a pet store full of animals>

Did You Know?

Words that descend from the Greek word phōnē are making noise in English. Why? Because phōnē means "sound" or "voice." Cacophony comes from a joining of the Greek prefix kak-, meaning "bad," with phōnē, so it essentially means "bad sound." Symphony, a word that indicates harmony or agreement in sound, traces to phōnē and the Greek prefix syn-, which means "together." Polyphony refers to a style of musical composition in which two or more independent melodies are juxtaposed in harmony, and it comes from a combination of phōnē and the Greek prefix poly-, meaning "many." And euphony, a word for a pleasing or sweet sound, combines phōnē with eu-, a prefix that means "good."

Origin and Etymology of cacophony

(see cacophonous)

First Known Use: circa 1656

Seen and Heard

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a dwelling place or home

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