cacophony

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

Definition of cacophony 

1 : harsh or jarring sound : dissonance sense 2 specifically : harshness in the sound of words or phrases

2 : an incongruous or chaotic mixture : a striking combination a cacophony of color a cacophony of smells

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Cacophony Is a Noisey Word

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."

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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Ryan Song, a law professor at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, said the Park case rose quickly to a cacophony because of South Korea's diffuse, immediate and aggressive news culture. Matt Stiles, latimes.com, "Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye is sentenced to 24 years in prison," 6 Apr. 2018 And then, amid a cacophony of firing flash bulbs and video camera operators fighting one another for position, the biggest celebrity of the NCAA tournament rolled in. Andy Staples, SI.com, "Sister Jean is Embracing Her Role as the Face of Loyola-Chicago, NCAA Tournament," 30 Mar. 2018 Long a silent presence in American life, class has lately raised a cacophony. Jedediah Purdy, The New Republic, "The Remaking of Class," 27 June 2018 This sleep-depriving FOMO was exacerbated by the cacophony of heavy rain pounding on the tents most of the night. David G. Allan, CNN, "The infamous murderer's prison escape that inspired a near-impossible ultramarathon," 26 May 2018 These regimes permit a cacophony of ideas, except for the ones that truly challenge political power. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Death of the Public Square," 6 July 2018 The two guitarists closed the song with a cacophony of feedback and whammy bar squeals that was simultaneously awe-inspiring and nearly unbearable. Bryan Rolli, Billboard, "Slayer Close Out First Leg of Farewell Tour with Blistering, Career-Spanning Austin Performance," 21 June 2018 Away from the cacophony of Future music, shrieking children and the bouncing of basketballs, four people were shot on Saturday. Malika Andrews, chicagotribune.com, "Organizers host anti-violence basketball tournament in East Garfield Park," 26 May 2018 Each day, the cacophony of work crews and heavy machinery grows a little louder. Lizzie Johnson, SFChronicle.com, "First person to rebuild after Wine Country fires finds frontier of hope," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cacophony.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cacophony

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cacophony

see cacophonous

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Statistics for cacophony

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for cacophony

The first known use of cacophony was circa 1656

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More Definitions for cacophony

cacophony

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cacophony

: unpleasant loud sounds

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Comments on cacophony

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