dis·​so·​nant | \-nənt \

Definition of dissonant 

1 : marked by dissonance : discordant

3 : harmonically unresolved

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Other Words from dissonant

dissonantly adverb

Did You Know?

The root of "dissonant" is the Latin verb sonare. Can you guess what "sonare" means? Here's a hint: some related derivatives are "sonata," "supersonic," and "resonance." Does it sound to you as if "sonare" has something to do with sound? If so, you're right. In fact, sonare means "to sound, is related to the Latin noun sonus (meaning "sound"), and is an ancestor of the English word sound. "Dissonant" includes the negative prefix dis-. What is "dissonant," therefore, sounds inharmonic, conflicting, or clashing.

Examples of dissonant in a Sentence

a dissonant chorus of noises arose from the busy construction site

Recent Examples on the Web

There is no darkness in it, other than the slightly dissonant orchestral depiction of Chaos in the opening section. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘The Creation’ Review: Genesis in the Dark," 23 July 2018 The music is equal parts dissonant, jarring, and melodic, sometimes sounding more like a sci-fi score than an opera. Paul Ross, Popular Mechanics, "I Am Become Opera: An Atomic Show In the Shadow of Los Alamos," 27 July 2018 Somehow this hodgepodge of bright, vegetal, sweet, and briny flavors is pleasing rather than dissonant. Devra First, BostonGlobe.com, "What’s on the menu at Falmouth’s Buffalo Jump? ‘Weird food that only weirdos like’," 11 July 2018 And Lizzie Clachan’s sterile white set, which will be thoroughly defaced by the end, and David McSeveney’s dissonant sound design, which finds the ominous in everyday noises, suggest that Eric’s mind is a terrible place to live. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Stephen Rea Is One Really Mad Man in ‘Cyprus Avenue’," 25 June 2018 On paper, Perry, Bryan and Richie couldn't appear more dissonant — respectively, a pop chameleon, a country superstar and a distinguished crooner with more accolades than mantel space. Gerrick D. Kennedy, latimes.com, "Grading the first season of ABC's 'American Idol' reboot," 22 May 2018 The fact that North Korea had not actually agreed to meet the Trump administration’s stated demands did not matter — that dissonant bit of footage could be left on the cutting room floor. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Ends NATO Summit by Announcing a Diplomatic Breakthrough That Did Not Happen," 12 July 2018 Last year, the Tour picked up a complementary voice, albeit a dissonant one. Fluto Shinzawa, BostonGlobe.com, "The soundtrack of the Tour de France," 29 June 2018 There is no doubt that her personal contradictions are heightened by the brilliant, dissonant images in her music videos. refinery29.com, "Read This & You’ll Never Hear “...Baby One More Time” The Same Way Again," 26 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dissonant

Middle English dissonaunte, from Latin dissonant-, dissonans, present participle of dissonare to be discordant, from dis- + sonare to sound — more at sound entry 1

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Statistics for dissonant

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for dissonant

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

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More Definitions for dissonant



English Language Learners Definition of dissonant

: not in agreement with something

music : not in harmony

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dissonant

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