Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: dis·so·nance
Pronunciation: /ˈdisənəns

Definition of dissonance in English:


1Lack of harmony among musical notes: an unusual degree of dissonance for such choral styles the harsh dissonances give a sound that is quite untypical of the Renaissance
More example sentences
  • Most of all, he shows a flair for matching the climaxes in the action with musical climaxes, using dissonance, the singer's virtuosity, or instrumental sonorities to create the sense of heightened emotion.
  • Abandoning the preconceived notions of tonality, and immersed within a musical state of dissonance, Coltrane's music became a communicative attempt at reaching a higher plane.
  • The music's density is intriguing, its rhythmic energy is compelling, and its harmonic complexity and dissonance is unusual for Reich.
1.1A tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements: dissonance between campaign rhetoric and personal behavior
More example sentences
  • But prolonged looking, both comparatively and at individual works, revealed to this viewer raw emotional dissonances that were in tension with what would otherwise have been an esthetic of easy consumption.
  • And if I spoke louder in the Garrel film, it was once more to create a clash, a dissonance.
  • Yet it carries an element of dissonance, especially in light of the reputation Americans have for being political pragmatists, not ideologues.


late Middle English: from Old French, from late Latin dissonantia, from Latin dissonant- 'not agreeing in sound', from the verb dissonare.

Definition of dissonance in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day ingratiate
Pronunciation: ɪnˈɡreɪʃɪeɪt
bring oneself into favour with someone through flattery…