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dis·​cord ˈdi-ˌskȯrd How to pronounce discord (audio)
: 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
: active quarreling or conflict resulting from discord among persons or factions : strife
marital discord
discord between the two parties
a music
: a combination of musical sounds that strikes the ear harshly
: dissonance
The song ends on a discord.
: a harsh or unpleasant sound


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dis·​cord ˈdi-ˌskȯrd How to pronounce discord (audio)
discorded; discording; discords
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

Noun The city has long been known as a scene of racial intolerance and discord. The song ends on a discord. Verb the evangelist's lavish lifestyle discords with his professed religious beliefs
Recent Examples on the Web
The looming challenge to Mr. Johnson from within sparked quick recriminations from other Republicans, who accused their colleagues of sowing discord that harms their own party and its chances of success in a pivotal election for control of Congress in November. Carl Hulse, New York Times, 23 Mar. 2024 The incident is the latest sign of discord in Europe over how best to counter the Kremlin and support Kyiv. Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 4 Mar. 2024 But Democratic discord simmered beneath the pleasantries at the Feb. 23 decapod dinner. Hannah Wiley, Los Angeles Times, 29 Feb. 2024 Geopolitical discord also seems to have reared its head with those willing to accept the rupee internationally. Gaurav Sharma, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 Wherever the contemporary occurs, anxiety and depression are seen as natural reactions to it, and performances of profound mental discord in response to the news will be familiar to anyone on social media. Lauren Oyler, The New Yorker, 9 Mar. 2024 Patel has written extensively about discord on college campuses. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Mar. 2024 Recognizing bullying and social discord also is important, says Kara Kushnir, MSW, LCSW, PMH-C, a clinical director and psychotherapist at A Work of Heart Counseling. Sarah Scott, Parents, 4 Mar. 2024 Amid the warm feelings at the Huntington Park holiday parade, there was an undercurrent of discord. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'discord.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near discord

Cite this Entry

“Discord.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discord. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: lack of agreement or harmony : conflict
discord between political parties
: a harsh combination of musical sounds
: a harsh or unpleasant sound

More from Merriam-Webster on discord

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