dis·​sen·​sion | \di-ˈsen(t)-shən \
variants: or less commonly dissention

Definition of dissension 

: disagreement especially : partisan and contentious quarreling causing dissension within the police department a colony threatened by religious dissension

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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

After an acrimonious postseason that seemed to cause dissension between him and the team, he was traded to Atlanta along with Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and Charlie Culberson for Matt Kemp. Houston Mitchell, latimes.com, "Dodgers Dugout: Can LeBron James pitch in relief too?," 2 July 2018 The recommendation, which the agency’s board is expected to approve in June, could bring an end to years of rancor and dissension over pay at the airports. Patrick Mcgeehan, New York Times, "New York-Area Airport Workers on Way to $19 Per Hour," 22 Mar. 2018 There are celebrities who are cultural disruptors, who force dissension and discussion — think Muhammad Ali in the 1960s — and there are those who are cultural resolvers, bringing disparate audiences into one big tent of comity and comfort. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, "There’s no separating Cosby’s legacy as a symbol of unity and the face of evil," 27 Apr. 2018 But Council Chairman John McBlain doesn’t see that as a sign of dissension or divisiveness. Vinny Vella, Philly.com, "Delaware County Democrats, the first elected in 40 years, find acceptance, some tension in months since historic win," 19 June 2018 These sequences also offer the show’s best attempt to think about how a philosophy of radical empathy could find empathy in those who would sow dissension and destruction, while utterly rejecting their philosophies. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "No other show on TV would end its series finale the way Sense8 did," 8 June 2018 That sparked bitter dissension among officials, faculty and staff at both schools. Dawn Rhodes, chicagotribune.com, "SIU trustees unexpectedly move to replace president without his prior knowledge," 6 June 2018 On Saturday, Trump claimed, unconvincingly, that any reports of dissension within the administration were incorrect. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Kim Jong-un Meets With South Korean Leader in Surprise Visit," 26 May 2018 The source of Jones' dissension might involve the recent mega-contracts doled out to Jarvis Landry (Browns, five years, $75 million) and Mike Evans (Buccaneers, five years, $82.5 million). Jay Clemons, USA TODAY, "Falcons owner Arthur Blank: Julio Jones will be in Atlanta 'forever'," 22 May 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dissension

Middle English, from Anglo-French discension, from Latin dissension-, dissensio, from dissentire — see dissent entry 1

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Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for dissension

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

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More Definitions for dissension



English Language Learners Definition of dissension

: disagreement that causes the people in a group to argue about something that is important to them


dis·​sen·​sion | \di-ˈsen-shən \

Kids Definition of dissension

: difference in opinion

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Comments on dissension

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


by force of circumstances

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