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

The internal dissension and various controversies reinforced the contentious atmosphere that seems to surround the Times. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, "New York Times demotes editor after Twitter controversy as paper takes fire from left, right and within," 13 Aug. 2019 Sounds like a recipe for dissension, before the first bounce of the ball. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: Does Heat schedule still come down to . . . relearning to win at home?," 13 Aug. 2019 In 1935, a panic over disbelievers and dissension provoked arrests and executions of Communist Party élite. Bathsheba Demuth, The New Yorker, "When the Soviet Union Freed the Arctic from Capitalist Slavery," 15 Aug. 2019 The odd squad: All the talk about dissension among House Democrats is a bit overblown. Willie Brown, SFChronicle.com, "The new America: Those who yell loudest win," 13 July 2019 Commission Chairwoman Leslie Campione sought a definitive vote on the statue, which has sparked dissension for more than a year. Stephen Hudak, orlandosentinel.com, "Confederate statue backers win battle in Lake County. Foes dismayed by 3-2 vote.," 30 July 2019 In North Korea, Trump similarly started with tough talk that gave way to internal dissension and then ended in ambiguity over the president’s long-term policy goals. Greg Jaffe, Washington Post, "A dangerous confusion at the heart of Trump’s foreign policy," 21 June 2019 Some parents of children killed in the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., said there was also dissension after that attack. Tawnell D. Hobbs, WSJ, "After a School Shooting, a Town Frays," 24 Oct. 2018 There might be dissension over how to spell it — doughnuts or donuts — but there's no arguing about the deliciousness of the sweet treat. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "12 deliciously creative donuts for National Doughnut Day," 7 June 2019

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

8 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!