Dorian mode


Definition of Dorian mode

1 : an ancient Greek mode consisting of two disjunct tetrachords represented on the white keys of the piano by a descending diatonic scale from E to E — see greek mode
2 : an authentic church mode represented on the white keys of the piano by a diatonic scale from D to D with A as its tenor (see tenor entry 1 sense 2a) and D as its final (see final entry 2 sense c) — see church mode illustration

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of Dorian mode

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for Dorian mode

translation of Greek dōria harmonia

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Dorian mode

Time Traveler for Dorian mode

Time Traveler

The first known use of Dorian mode was in 1667

See more words from the same year

Statistics for Dorian mode

Cite this Entry

“Dorian mode.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

Comments on Dorian mode

What made you want to look up Dorian mode? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!