unison

1 of 2

noun

uni·​son ˈyü-nə-sən How to pronounce unison (audio)
-nə-zən
1
a
: identity in musical pitch
specifically : the interval of a perfect prime
b
: the state of being so tuned or sounded
c
: the writing, playing, or singing of parts in a musical passage at the same pitch or in octaves
2
: a harmonious agreement or union : concord

unison

2 of 2

adjective

1
: identical in musical pitch
unison singing
a unison passage
accompanied by unison strings
2
: producing pitches ordinarily associated with the keys played
one of the organ's unison stops
Phrases
in unison
1
: in perfect agreement : so as to harmonize exactly
a class reciting in unison
2
: 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
Noun
Seconds before, fans were cheering and chanting in unison. Sarah Ritter, Kansas City Star, 16 Feb. 2024 The teaser clip showed the musicians singing the chorus in unison, wearing all-black outfits and accessorizing with a lot of bling. Becca Longmire, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2024 Engineers, solar experts, community groups, architectural organizations as well as the New York City Council pulled in unison. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 7 Feb. 2024 In bipartisan unison throughout the hearing, Congress chastised the leaders of some of the nation's top social media companies and called on them to take immediate steps to protect children and teens online. Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 31 Jan. 2024 Set standards, recognize what’s possible and don’t be afraid to do things in unison. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, 7 Feb. 2024 Rivera raises a flag for an entire community in the scene: a Latina actress playing a character both soft and tough, moving in unison with a Black dancer and a White dancer and all evincing the same artistry, and hope. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 31 Jan. 2024 As the room for today’s hearing filled up with members of the public, several rows of advocates stood silently and in unison with images of teens or children. Adi Robertson, The Verge, 31 Jan. 2024 The upheaval of protests and the mounting chaos of the women’s stories rise in unison with the typhoon that threatens to engulf the maritime port city. Jireh Deng, Los Angeles Times, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Etymology

Noun

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

Noun

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

Adjective

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 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

unison

noun
uni·​son ˈyü-nə-sən How to pronounce unison (audio)
-zən
1
: sameness of musical pitch
2
: the condition of being tuned or sounded at the same pitch or at an octave
sing in unison rather than in harmony
3
: exact agreement : accord
all are in unison on the next move
Etymology

Noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on unison

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