noun ca·coph·o·ny \ ka-ˈkä-fə-nē , -ˈkȯ- also -ˈka- \
|Updated on: 8 Jul 2018

Definition of cacophony

plural cacophonies
1 : harsh or jarring sound : dissonance 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

cacophony was our Word of the Day on 11/30/2010. Hear the podcast!

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 GearlesUndoing Time2001
  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. CowenScience News18 Mar. 2000
  3. Shell casings littered the highway, where a cacophony of car alarms and sobbing rent the winter air. —Jeff SteinGQDecember 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 BoyleThe Road to Wellville1993
  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

Recent Examples of cacophony from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of cacophony

CACOPHONY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of cacophony for English Language Learners

  • : unpleasant loud sounds

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one who attends or assists a leader

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