Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[en-hahr-mon-ik] /ˌɛn hɑrˈmɒn ɪk/
adjective, Music.
having the same pitch in the tempered scale but written in different notation, as G sharp and A flat.
1590-1600; < Late Latin enharmonicus < Greek enarmónios (-icus replacing -ios), equivalent to en- en-1 + harmoní(a) harmony + -os adj. suffix
Related forms
enharmonically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for enharmonic


adjective (music)
denoting or relating to a small difference in pitch between two notes such as A flat and G sharp: not present in instruments of equal temperament such as the piano, but significant in the intonation of stringed and wind instruments
denoting or relating to enharmonic modulation
Derived Forms
enharmonically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin enharmonicus, from Greek enarmonios, from en-² + harmonia; see harmony
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for enharmonic

c.1600, from Late Latin enharmonicus, from Greek enharmonikos, from en (see en- (2)) + harmonikos (see harmonic).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for enharmonic

in the system of equal temperament tuning used on keyboard instruments, two tones that sound the same but are notated (spelled) differently. Pitches such as F and G are said to be enharmonic equivalents; both are sounded with the same key on a keyboard instrument. The same is true of intervals, which are always named according to their notation: A-F is an augmented sixth, while A-G and G-F are both minor sevenths; all are enharmonically equivalent. C major (which has a key signature with seven sharps) and D major (with five flats) are enharmonically the same key; D major is considered easier to read and thus is much more commonly used than C major. Enharmonic tones and intervals are often components of pivot chords in modulation (change of key), especially if the composer is changing from a key notated in flats to one notated in sharps (or vice versa).

Learn more about enharmonic with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for enharmonic

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for enharmonic

Scrabble Words With Friends