dis·​so·​nant | \ ˈdi-sə-nənt How to pronounce dissonant (audio) \

Definition of dissonant

1 : marked by dissonance : discordant
3 : harmonically unresolved

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 During a fight scene with Evelyn, Jobu wears an outfit that is pure chaos, mashing up the character’s many dissonant styles to an alarming effect. New York Times, 21 Apr. 2022 At the end of the second movement, falling glissandos in the strings provoked a dissonant buildup, which gave way to a lush melody. San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Apr. 2022 The audience didn’t know what to make of the strange, dissonant sounds coming from the four musicians onstage at New York’s United Palace on April 16. Simon Vozick-levinson, Rolling Stone, 19 Apr. 2022 Later, both motifs sound against a pileup of dissonant chords, which is like a wall through which neither can pass. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 24 Mar. 2022 The glitching, drill-like beat, accompanied by some dissonant chords, further complicate the story of the song, perfectly painting a picture of being caught between a rock and a hard place. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 25 Mar. 2022 Until Thursday, the Nets had faced the prospect of chasing a title without one of their best players, and the city’s politicians feared the dissonant image of a maskless Irving sitting courtside to watch home games instead of being on the court. Ben Cohen, WSJ, 24 Mar. 2022 As socially dissonant as Mozart’s rom-com (which is really more of a rom-con) may be, operating from a premise that men are trash does nothing to mar its merits. Washington Post, 13 Mar. 2022 White House aides fretted that a repeat would be a dissonant image from the message the president aimed to deliver to the American people. Fox News, 28 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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dissonance treatment



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Last Updated

7 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dissonant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissonant. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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