dis·​cor·​dant | \ di-ˈskȯr-dᵊnt How to pronounce discordant (audio) \

Definition of discordant

1a : being at variance : disagreeing discordant opinions
b : quarrelsome a discordant family
2 music : relating to a discord (see discord entry 1 sense 2) a discordant tone

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Other Words from discordant

discordantly adverb

Did You Know?

Discord, a word more common in earlier centuries than today, means basically "conflict", so discordant often means "conflicting". The opinions of Supreme Court justices are frequently discordant; justices who disagree with the Court's decision usually write a dissenting opinion. Discordant is often used with a somewhat musical meaning, suggesting that a single wrong note or harmony has been heard in the middle of a performance—even though musical words such as chord actually come from a different Latin word, meaning "cord" or "string" (a reference to the strings of ancient instruments such as the lyre).

Examples of discordant in a Sentence

She has the difficult task of bringing together a number of discordant elements. discordant tones coming from the poorly tuned instrument
Recent Examples on the Web Just under the halfway point, in the garages and pit lanes of the Acura race teams, something equally discordant has materialized: Nothing. Eric Adams, Wired, "How a Street-Smart Supercar Got Ready for the Racetrack," 17 Feb. 2020 Her discordant feelings are dramatized when the family visits the International Spy Museum, in Washington, D.C., where they are given a script to act out a mission. Lauren Oyler, The New Yorker, "Are Novels Trapped by the Present?," 12 Feb. 2020 But the Pentagon is only one agency in what is sometimes a discordant cacophony of messaging, and at others, silence. Kimberly Dozier, Time, "A U.S. Plane Crashed in Afghanistan. Why So Many Believed a CIA Chief Was On It.," 1 Feb. 2020 Various discordant facts about what happened before, during, and after the assassination continued to emerge over time. David Roth, The New Republic, "The Windbag of War," 21 Jan. 2020 The idylls are punctuated by the discordant sounds of a tape rewinding at hyper-speed. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Arthur Miller’s Dying ‘Salesman’ Is Reborn in London," 2 Jan. 2020 But across the country, Jewish communities viewed Mr. Trump’s order in competing and discordant ways. New York Times, "Trump’s Order to Combat Anti-Semitism Divides Its Audience: American Jews," 12 Dec. 2019 Another classy touch is the discordant, unsettling electro-blues score by veteran English art-rock band The The, founded and fronted by the director's brother Matt Johnson. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Muscle': Film Review," 25 Dec. 2019 Brightly colored lizards scuttled on the still-warm rocks as the sun set, and for a moment the orchestra of Zimbabwe's discordant ancestral spirits seemed to fall into an easy, amicable silence. Peter Browne, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Slow Safari Along Zimbabwe’s Back Roads," 20 Dec. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for discordant

see discord entry 2

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Time Traveler for discordant

Time Traveler

The first known use of discordant was in the 14th century

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Statistics for discordant

Last Updated

3 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discordant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discordant. Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for discordant


How to pronounce discordant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of discordant

: harsh or unpleasant in sound
: not agreeing : not in harmony


dis·​cor·​dant | \ dis-ˈkȯr-dᵊnt How to pronounce discordant (audio) \

Kids Definition of discordant

: being in disagreement discordant opinions


dis·​cor·​dant | \ dis-ˈkȯrd-ᵊnt How to pronounce discordant (audio) \

Medical Definition of discordant

of twins
: dissimilar with respect to one or more particular characters — compare concordant

Other Words from discordant

discordance \ -​ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce discordance (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on discordant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for discordant

Spanish Central: Translation of discordant

Nglish: Translation of discordant for Spanish Speakers

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