Word of the Day : November 30, 2010


noun ka-KAH-fuh-nee


: harsh or discordant sound : dissonance; specifically : harshness in the sound of words or phrases

Did You Know?

Words that descend from the Greek word "phōnē" are making noise in English. Why? Because "phōnē" means "sound" or "voice." "Cacophony" comes from a joining of the Greek prefix "kak-," meaning "bad," with "phōnē", so it essentially means "bad sound." "Symphony," a word that indicates harmony or agreement in sound, traces to "phōnē" and the Greek prefix "syn-," which means "together." "Polyphony" refers to a style of musical composition in which two or more independent melodies are juxtaposed in harmony, and it comes from a combination of "phōnē" and the Greek prefix "poly-," meaning "many." And "euphony," a word for a pleasing or sweet sound, combines "phōnē" with "eu-," a prefix that means "good."


Feedback from the microphone produced an awful, shrieking cacophony equivalent to the sound of nails scratching on a blackboard.

"Imagine a tent full of celebrities, artists and art patrons dressed in their designer best -- Eli Broad, Frank Gehry, Jeff Koons, Gwen Stefani and more -- submitting to a cacophony of farm auctioneers calling, cattle ranchers whipping and drummers drumming." -- From an article by Booth Moore, describing a gala fundraiser, in the Los Angeles Times, November 15, 2010

Quick Quiz

What woodwind instrument is a relative of "cacophony"? The answer is ...


play time wotd cacophony

'Cacophony' — Video Word of the Day 2/13/2019

noun - harsh or discordant sound


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