dis·​sen·​sion | \ di-ˈsen(t)-shən How to pronounce dissension (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Something that shocks or fuels dissension can put you and others ill at ease. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for June 5, 2019: Gemini, research major purchase first; Libra, watch restless urge," 5 June 2019 While Presley’s star rose, his band remained on a fixed salary, causing increasing dissension. Kurt Gottschalk, BostonGlobe.com, "D.J. Fontana, 87, powerful drummer for Elvis Presley," 16 June 2018 While Presley’s star rose, his band remained on a fixed salary, causing increasing dissension. Kurt Gottschalk, BostonGlobe.com, "D.J. Fontana, 87, powerful drummer for Elvis Presley," 16 June 2018 While Presley’s star rose, his band remained on a fixed salary, causing increasing dissension. Kurt Gottschalk, New York Times, "D.J. Fontana, 87, Elvis Presley’s Longtime Drummer, Is Dead," 14 June 2018 There has been no hint through notes of dissension among jurors or a possible impasse. Emily Stewart, Vox, "8 experts on why the Paul Manafort jury doesn’t have a verdict yet — and what it might mean," 19 Aug. 2018 Such internal dissension is a major problem for a tech company that relies primarily on human talent. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Facebook Always Meant Business," 8 Dec. 2018 Democratic dissension on the budget and taxes The budget — and the surrounding debates around taxes and spending — is another problem that has bedeviled Murphy already, and similar issues are sure to trouble Democrats elsewhere. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Democrats won 6 more state governments. New Jersey shows what they can do.," 21 Nov. 2018 That rift is pushing Qatar closer to Iran and sowing dissension among the small Gulf sheikhdoms whose cooperation the U.S. needs to protect vital oil-shipping lanes. Karen Elliott House, WSJ, "Rethinking Saudi Arabia," 30 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dissension

Statistics for dissension

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dissension

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dissension



English Language Learners Definition of dissension

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


dis·​sen·​sion | \ di-ˈsen-shən How to pronounce dissension (audio) \

Kids Definition of dissension

: difference in opinion

Keep scrolling for more

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).


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!