Simple Definition of cacophony
: unpleasant loud sounds
Examples of cacophony in a sentence
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
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
Shell casings littered the highway, where a cacophony of car alarms and sobbing rent the winter air. —Jeff Stein, GQ, December 1997
… 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
The sounds of barking dogs and sirens added to the cacophony on the streets.
<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 of cacophony
First Known Use: circa 1656
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