Definition of dissonant in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdisənənt/


1Lacking harmony: irregular, dissonant chords
More example sentences
  • The Violin Concerto starts off, for instance, with dissonant sustained chords auguring a foray into some atonal world of austerity and gray shadings.
  • It may be to this very fact that a certain unwritten ‘law’ is owed: this law prefers that melodic notes dissonant to the prevailing harmony should be resolved by step.
  • The dissonant chords melt into nothingness giving the impression of not wanting to fight anymore, a cruel world left to savage itself away.
1.1Unsuitable or unusual in combination; clashing: Jackson employs both harmonious and dissonant color choices
More example sentences
  • The lack of volume can be particularly dissonant when bus conversations clash with your music during the daily commute.
  • Whatever the origins of the malaise, this dissonant combination of urban potential, challenges and inadequate responses can only lead to more frustration and cynicism among citizens.
  • If her slightly warped geometry and dissonant, high-keyed colors sometimes suggest the cartoon world of Elizabeth Murray, Cecily Kahn is more deeply rooted in the tradition of abstraction.
incongruous, anomalous, clashing, inharmonious;
disparate, different, dissimilar



Example sentences
  • Yet the music was darkly, dissonantly underground.
  • The melodic line begins dissonantly, but softly.
  • The faint light of a full moon lit my way dissonantly.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'clashing'): from Old French, or from Latin dissonant- 'being discordant or inharmonious', from the verb dissonare, from dis- 'apart' + sonare 'to sound'.

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Syllabification: dis·so·nant

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