dis·​cord | \ˈdis-ˌkȯrd \

Definition of discord 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : lack of agreement or harmony (as between persons, things, or ideas) … must we fall into the jabber and babel of discord while victory is still unattained?— Sir Winston Churchill

b : active quarreling or conflict resulting from discord among persons or factions : strife marital discord discord between the two parties

2a music

(1) : a combination of musical sounds that strikes the ear harshly

(2) : dissonance The song ends on a discord.

b : a harsh or unpleasant sound


dis·​cord | \ˈdis-ˌkȯrd, dis-ˈ\

Definition of discord (Entry 2 of 2)

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Choose the Right Synonym for discord


discord, strife, conflict, contention, dissension, variance mean a state or condition marked by a lack of agreement or harmony. discord implies an intrinsic or essential lack of harmony producing quarreling, factiousness, or antagonism. a political party long racked by discord strife emphasizes a struggle for superiority rather than the incongruity or incompatibility of the persons or things involved. during his brief reign the empire was never free of civil strife conflict usually stresses the action of forces in opposition but in static applications implies an irreconcilability as of duties or desires. the conflict of freedom and responsibility contention applies to strife or competition that shows itself in quarreling, disputing, or controversy. several points of contention about the new zoning law dissension implies strife or discord and stresses a division into factions. religious dissension threatened to split the colony variance implies a clash between persons or things owing to a difference in nature, opinion, or interest. cultural variances that work against a national identity

Examples of discord in a Sentence


The city has long been known as a scene of racial intolerance and discord. The song ends on a discord.


the evangelist's lavish lifestyle discords with his professed religious beliefs
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Today’s political discord is less durable and dangerous than a consensus, one that unites the political class more than ideology divides it. George Will, National Review, "America Needs a Balanced-Budget Amendment More Than Ever," 3 Jan. 2018 Kim Dae-jung's engagement with North Korea was often a source of discord with the hard-line U.S. administration of former President George W. Bush, and disagreements between Washington and Seoul continued during Roh's government. Kim Tong-hyung, Fox News, "Fate of inter-Korean detente hangs on nuclear talks," 5 July 2018 Indeed, the British fomented racial discord as a means of maintaining control. The Economist, "Malaysia’s ruling party may be gone, but its racial policies survive," 7 June 2018 The tide has also sown discord in the region, pitching governments against one another and threatening the continent’s document-free travel zone. Andrea Thomas, WSJ, "European Governments Fail to Agree on Redistributing Migrants," 12 July 2018 And at the heart of the discord, somehow, is Messi, the greatest victim of the Argentinian problem, and yet in part the cause of it. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "From Elimination to Elation: Argentina Somehow Staves Off Early World Cup Exit," 26 June 2018 The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy. Jeremy Roebuck, Philly.com, "'Paint Philly red': How Russian trolls sought to influence Pa.'s 2016 vote," 19 Feb. 2018 Since the revelations that Russian troll accounts sowed discord on social-media platforms during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Twitter has released a series of updates to clamp down on suspicious activity. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "Twitter ramps up fight against abuse and malicious bots," 26 June 2018 The same is true for Newsfeed at Facebook, the very product that Russia used to sow discord during the election. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "Trump Stokes Outrage in Silicon Valley—But It's Selective," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Trump said Iran cannot be trusted to stick to the accord, and that the agreement fails to address Iran's missile program or its contribution to discord in the Middle East. Hannah Wiley, USA TODAY, "Iran nuclear deal: What's next for the controversial accord?," 2 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discord.' 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 discord


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for discord


Middle English descorde, discord, from Anglo-French descorde, from Latin discordia, from discord-, discors — see discord entry 2


Middle English, from Anglo-French descorder, from Latin discordare, from discord-, discors discordant, from dis- + cord-, cor heart — more at heart

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Statistics for discord

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for discord

The first known use of discord was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for discord



English Language Learners Definition of discord

: lack of agreement between people, ideas, etc.

: an unpleasant combination of musical notes


dis·​cord | \ˈdis-ˌkȯrd \

Kids Definition of discord

: lack of agreement or harmony : conflict Money problems caused family discord.

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Comments on discord

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


playful or foolish behavior

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