dissonance

noun

dis·​so·​nance ˈdi-sə-nən(t)s How to pronounce dissonance (audio)
1
a
: 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 dissonancesF. 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

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 Her vocals are guttural and grinding, and the dissonance between her subject and delivery lands squarely in the sweet spot between absurdity and profundity. Madelyn Dawson, SPIN, 9 July 2024 That context, especially against the backdrop of the present agony of Palestinians, creates painful dissonance with her work’s wounded humanism—and, ironically, underscores the urgent need for it. The New Yorker, 26 June 2024 For political independents, people without a party, the gap between private thought and public expression ran to double digits on more than half the issues—a striking amount of dissonance. Karl Vick, TIME, 2 July 2024 The dissonance of indulging in fantasy is, for this world, just as damning as the dissonance of hypocrisy is for others. Sarah Shachat, IndieWire, 23 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for dissonance 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dissonance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

see dissonant

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near dissonance

Cite this Entry

“Dissonance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissonance. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

dissonance

noun
dis·​so·​nance ˈdis-ə-nən(t)s How to pronounce dissonance (audio)
: an unpleasant combination of musical sounds

Medical Definition

dissonance

noun
dis·​so·​nance ˈdis-ə-nən(t)s How to pronounce dissonance (audio)
: inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one's actions and one's beliefs see cognitive dissonance

More from Merriam-Webster on dissonance

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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