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 The dissonance of the moment for Europe was captured Monday in a tweet by the U.K.’s ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire. Eli Lake, Twin Cities, "Eli Lake: Why is Europe bailing out Iran’s regime now?," 4 Dec. 2019 There is a dissonance between the vocal melody and instrumental parts that is disorienting and can be a bit disturbing to the listener. Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "Nine Inch Nails, Pixies, Nirvana land on surprising top 10 scariest songs of all time list," 31 Oct. 2019 There is a high level of dissonance between the chromatically descending guitar line and the vocal, which is not a melody exactly, but a series of monotonic, almost unrelated pitches that clash with the accompaniment. Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "Nine Inch Nails, Pixies, Nirvana land on surprising top 10 scariest songs of all time list," 31 Oct. 2019 But more often than not cultural dissonance was the result, especially when profits were not immediately forthcoming and both sides searched for the reason. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘American Factory’ manufactures insight into U.S.-Chinese collaboration," 20 Aug. 2019 The dissonance for fans was that United’s commercial success continued unabated. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Mourinho Fired From Manchester United as Premier League Heavyweights Struggle," 18 Dec. 2018 Ryan, with his deadpan face, is remarkable in the role, moving from tenderness to ruthlessness without strain or dissonance. BostonGlobe.com, "It’s time to catch up on ‘Mr Inbetween’ - The Boston Globe," 12 Sep. 2019 With lots of diminished chords, gothic-sounding organ, unsettling dissonance, unorthodox instruments (including electronics and non-Western instruments) and creeping melodies, the band could set the scene for ominousness and suspense. John Adamian, courant.com, "Our picks for seven of this week’s can’t-miss concerts in Connecticut," 16 Sep. 2019 While there is great beauty in the chiaroscuro interplay between his expressionistic dissonances and Renaissance-style harmonies, his works never build toward resolution or transfiguration. New York Times, "Cancer Haunts a Composer’s Life and Work," 3 June 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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Time Traveler for dissonance

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dissonance

Last Updated

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dissonance.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissonance. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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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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