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 Until there is a breakthrough, the companies and AMPTP will try to sow doubt and internal guild dissension. Rodney Ho, ajc, 9 Sep. 2023 The union also warned members to keep their radar up for studio efforts to sow doubt and dissension among writers. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 8 Sep. 2023 The buzz: Spain has one of the deepest, most talented rosters in the tournament, but the team has been racked by internal dissension since last fall, when 15 players threatened to quit if Jorge Vilda remained as coach. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2023 The winning work was breaking the news that the Supreme Court had voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and revealing internal dissension and questions about court ethics. Lee Roop | Lroop@al.com, al, 28 July 2023 In one of his early moves as Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk released internal emails showing there was dissension within the company over restricting access to the Post article. al, 2 Feb. 2023 If that’s not the case, and this causes some dissension in the locker room, then sure, do what needs to be done. Michael Sykes, USA TODAY, 8 Oct. 2022 Any kind of political dissension is not what Moms for Liberty had in mind, said Tina Descovich, co-founder of Moms for Liberty. Finch Walker, USA TODAY, 5 June 2023 Perhaps the developers thought there might be dissension in the ranks. John Kelly, Washington Post, 8 July 2023 See More

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 24 Sep. 2023.

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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