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uni·​son ˈyü-nə-sən How to pronounce unison (audio)
: identity in musical pitch
specifically : the interval of a perfect prime
: the state of being so tuned or sounded
: the writing, playing, or singing of parts in a musical passage at the same pitch or in octaves
: a harmonious agreement or union : concord


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: identical in musical pitch
unison singing
a unison passage
accompanied by unison strings
: producing pitches ordinarily associated with the keys played
one of the organ's unison stops
in unison
: in perfect agreement : so as to harmonize exactly
a class reciting in unison
: at the same time : simultaneously

Did you know?

This word usually appears in the phrase "in unison", which means "together, at the same time" or "at the same musical pitch". So an excited crowd responding to a speaker may shout in unison, and a group of demonstrators may chant in unison. The old church music called Gregorian chant was written to be sung in unison, with no harmonizing voices, and kindergarten kids always sing in unison (at least when they can all find the same pitch). In a similar way, an aerobics class moves in unison following the instructor, and a group or even a whole town may work in unison when everyone agrees on a common goal.

Examples of unison in a Sentence

Noun the members of the committee are in unison on this point
Recent Examples on the Web
The celestial event itself will have no effect on wireless networks but phone providers are preparing for potential disruptions as massive crowds will hold their cell phones skyward in unison to capture the moment. Alexandra Banner, CNN, 8 Apr. 2024 The senators all stand in unison and raise their right hand. Allison Pecorin, ABC News, 8 Apr. 2024 Sector Picking Traders aren’t expecting share prices to move in unison this earnings season. Jess Menton, Fortune, 7 Apr. 2024 Suddenly the once-content birds snapped their heads erect and, as if someone sounded an alert, the birds flushed almost in unison and sailed far overhead and across a broad valley. Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, 3 Apr. 2024 The seats are also comfortable, ideal for those who want to relax and enjoy the concert, but when the lights went down for this particular show, the audience shot up from their seats in unison to greet TLC with loud cheers. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 2 Apr. 2024 The sisters start yelling over each other, prompting the show's staff to intervene and every disappointed Black lady in the head to shake their head in unison. Lester Fabian Brathwaite, EW.com, 1 Apr. 2024 Percussive footwork was multiplied in tight unison, groups moved in handsome lines and circles, castanets trilled and soloists broke out in displays of expertise. Brian Seibert, New York Times, 18 Mar. 2024 No rapper on planet earth could have white pre-teen girls and grown Black men singing along in unison. Camellia Burris, Miami Herald, 28 Mar. 2024

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

Word History



Middle English unisoun, from Middle French unisson, from Medieval Latin unisonus having the same sound, from Latin uni- + sonus sound — more at sound entry 1

First Known Use


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


1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near unison

Cite this Entry

“Unison.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unison. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


uni·​son ˈyü-nə-sən How to pronounce unison (audio)
: sameness of musical pitch
: the condition of being tuned or sounded at the same pitch or at an octave
sing in unison rather than in harmony
: exact agreement : accord
all are in unison on the next move


from early French unisson "having the same musical pitch," from Latin unisonus "having the same sound," from uni- "one" (from unus "one") and sonus "a sound" — related to sound entry 3, unite

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