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

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 His paintings borrowed aspects of photographic vision (arbitrary cropping, dissonant overlap) and even photographic sensibility (cool, affectless, mechanical). Washington Post, "An insider’s guide to Paris," 20 Jan. 2021 As these two dissonant sides meet again, police in the role of peacekeepers will be forced to contend with the growing perception that officers have chosen sides. Washington Post, "Policing protests: Demonstrators say officers are taking sides as D.C. hosts pro-Trump rallies Saturday," 11 Dec. 2020 Some studies posit that the undetectable Zoom audio lag depletes more energy than a typical meeting, causing our brains to work overtime to synchronize the two dissonant elements. Sophia Maltese, cleveland, "Local college students struggle with ‘Zoom fatigue’ as remote semester wraps up," 3 Dec. 2020 Toward the end, violins and violas pick up those songful patterns, as if preparing to break through into some collective epiphany; but a crisis intervenes, in the form of grisly, dissonant quadruple-forte chords. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "What Does It Mean to “Reimagine” an Orchestra Season?," 30 Nov. 2020 The dissonant behavior on display in those banks’ earnings adds to a set of mixed signals that consumers and businesses are sending about the state of the economy, making its underlying strength or weakness hard to discern. Peter Rudegeair, WSJ, "The Coronavirus Economy Is a Mixed Bag for Credit-Card Issuers," 28 Oct. 2020 An axe shows up in the third act, but The Shining is referenced throughout, especially through Kris Bowers’ shrieking, dissonant score. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Justin Simien talks ‘Bad Hair,’ following his genre obsessions, and getting ‘free as hell’ in ’80s horror satire," 22 Oct. 2020 The flash of a police car appears, then a dissonant siren sounds. Dave Eggers, The New Yorker, "All That Could Burn," 11 Oct. 2020 The governor’s announcement also seemed to be yet another manifestation of the tense and often dissonant relationship between City Hall and Albany, which has an outsize role in many city decisions. Jesse Mckinley, New York Times, "Cuomo Rejects N.Y.C.’s Shutdown Plan for Virus Spike, but May Offer Own," 5 Oct. 2020

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

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Last Updated

31 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dissonant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissonant. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for dissonant



English Language Learners Definition of dissonant

formal : not in agreement with something
music : not in harmony

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