dissonance

noun
dis·​so·​nance | \ ˈdi-sə-nən(t)s How to pronounce dissonance (audio) \

Definition of dissonance

1a : lack of agreement the dissonance between the truth and what people want to believe especially : inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one's actions and one's beliefs — compare cognitive dissonance
b : an instance of such inconsistency or disagreement the mingling of bitter comedy and stark tragedy produces sharp dissonances— F. B. Millett
2 : a mingling of sounds that strike the ear harshly : a mingling of discordant sounds especially, music : a clashing or unresolved musical interval or chord

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Examples of dissonance in a Sentence

the dissonance between what we are told and what we see with our own eyes

Recent Examples on the Web

Our brains resolve the dissonance by altering either our beliefs or our behavior. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "The Promise and Problem of Fake Meat," 7 June 2019 Getting comfortable with the dissonance, that’s the thing. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Into the Wild With Kanye West," 25 June 2018 To be clear, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator didn’t mute all the nuisances of traveling en masse, but this land yacht certainly diminished the dissonance from the deep. Robert Duffer, chicagotribune.com, "2018 Lincoln Navigator outdoes Cadillac Escalade as most refined family hauler," 5 Mar. 2018 Italy’s new left-right coalition is a case of government by cognitive economic dissonance. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Italy Drives in Reverse," 18 July 2018 But sorting through such dissonance, trying to reconcile the first and second Lukes, seems a task beyond the powers of your average major league team. SI.com, "Prospect and Pariah," 16 May 2018 And for European audiences at the time, the dissonance between the two wasn’t confined to matters of culture. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘The Upside’ Review: Uplift on Demand," 10 Jan. 2019 There’s a lot of dissonance between the two approaches. Parker Molloy, The Verge, "By not banning Alex Jones, Twitter is making a political choice," 8 Aug. 2018 Dumakude and Okpokwasili, the two vocalists in the cast, sing a mournful, somber tune — one of a few moments in this 90-minute work which abandon dissonance in sound, if not in words. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, "'Poor People’s TV Room' mixes Boko Haram history with Oprah — and is a tough, tough piece to unpack," 13 Apr. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dissonance

see dissonant

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Statistics for dissonance

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for dissonance

The first known use of dissonance was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for dissonance

dissonance

noun
dis·​so·​nance | \ ˈdi-sə-nəns How to pronounce dissonance (audio) \

Kids Definition of dissonance

: an unpleasant combination of musical sounds

dissonance

noun
dis·​so·​nance | \ ˈdis-ə-nən(t)s How to pronounce dissonance (audio) \

Medical Definition of dissonance

: inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one's actions and one's beliefs — see cognitive dissonance

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Comments on dissonance

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