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

Among the reasons for its success are the recurring use of the dissonant interval that opens the work, tolling bells, gently swaying rhythms, sighing vocal lines for soprano and for tenor. Barbara Jepson, WSJ, "Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ Review: Mixing Sacred and Secular," 30 Nov. 2018 Now, with the help of dissonant horns and lingering tones, Amazon becomes a supervillain, a corporation run by Lex Luthor or Hydra with world domination in mind. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Amazon’s holiday commercial remixed with Captain America’s score is like a Black Mirror episode," 26 Nov. 2018 The emotional, dissonant scene reflected the increasingly divided nation that Trump leads, one gripped by a week of political violence and hate and hurtling toward contentious midterm elections that could alter the path of a presidency. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Trumps pay tribute at synagogue where 11 were fatally shot," 31 Oct. 2018 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

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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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

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

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marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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