Music. polyphonic composition; counterpoint.
Phonetics. representation of different sounds by the same letter or symbol.

1820–30; < Greek polyphōnía variety of tones. See poly-, -phony

polyphonous, adjective
polyphonously, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To polyphony
World English Dictionary
polyphony (pəˈlɪfənɪ)
n , pl -nies
1.  polyphonic style of composition or a piece of music utilizing it
2.  the use of polyphones in a writing system
[C19: from Greek poluphōnia diversity of tones, from poly- + phōnē speech, sound]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1828, "multiplicity of sounde," from Gk. polyphonia "variety of sounds," from polys "many" (see poly-) + phone "voice, sound" (see fame). The meaning "counterpoint" (1864) is perhaps a back-formation from the adj. polyphonic (1782), formed in Eng. from the same Gk. root.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Describes a model that emphasizes the commonalities of music from medieval polyphony to contemporary rock.
The polyphony of voices has dwindled to a private conversation between one or two people.
His choreography frequently uses dance versions of complex polyphony.
When two or three characters talked at once, the polyphony simply canceled out the meaning of each individual's words.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature