dis·​sen·​sion di-ˈsen(t)-shən How to pronounce dissension (audio)
variants or less commonly dissention
: disagreement
especially : partisan and contentious quarreling
causing dissension within the police department
a colony threatened by religious dissension
Choose the Right Synonym for dissension

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 dissension in a Sentence

The incident has caused a lot of dissension within the police department. Religious dissension threatened to split the colony.
Recent Examples on the Web Others are encouraging their colleagues to stay out of it completely as a way to keep the focus on Democrats and their intraparty dissension. Cami Mondeaux, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 13 July 2024 House Democrats stand by Biden despite internal dissension As Democratic members leave a caucus meeting at the DNC this morning, most are publicly stating their support for President Joe Biden. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, 9 July 2024 Too much dissension – especially if groups form opposing camps closed off from one another – may result in violence and destroy democracy. Kevin J. McMahon, The Conversation, 24 June 2024 Pundits at the time conjectured that such a contentious legislative process would foster ongoing dissension. Tobin Miller Shearer, TIME, 19 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for dissension 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dissension.' 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, from Anglo-French discension, from Latin dissension-, dissensio, from dissentire — see dissent entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dissension was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near dissension

Cite this Entry

“Dissension.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissension. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


dis·​sen·​sion dis-ˈen-chən How to pronounce dissension (audio)
: disagreement in opinion : discord

More from Merriam-Webster on dissension

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