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[yoo-nuh-suh n, -zuh n] /ˈyu nə sən, -zən/
coincidence in pitch of two or more musical tones, voices, etc.
the musical interval of a perfect prime.
the performance of musical parts at the same pitch or at the octave.
a sounding together in octaves, especially of male and female voices or of higher and lower instruments of the same class.
a process in which all elements behave in the same way at the same time; simultaneous or synchronous parallel action:
to march in unison.
in unison, in perfect accord; corresponding exactly:
My feelings on the subject are in unison with yours.
Origin of unison
1565-75; < Medieval Latin ūnisonus of a single sound, equivalent to Latin ūni- uni- + sonus sound
Related forms
nonunison, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unison
  • In some places the firefly dance is synchronized, with the insects flashing in unison or in waves.
  • Once the cells grew closer together and contacted each other, they began to beat in unison.
  • Even in religious matters the people were more in unison than ever before or since.
  • Thousands of fireflies blinked on and then off in unison, a huge collective mating call to get the females' attention.
  • In the stands, my excitement swelled as the cuadrilla made one final bow in unison.
  • When a flock turns in unison, it's a phase transition.
  • If they wanted to be successful, they would have had to act in unison.
  • Watch right as the dancing inmates clap and gyrate in unison to the popular song.
  • Using all three in unison will provide the maximum security for the data stored on drives.
  • Think about those three technologies working in unison.
British Dictionary definitions for unison


/ˈjuːnɪsən; -zən/
  1. the interval between two sounds of identical pitch
  2. (modifier) played or sung at the same pitch: unison singing
complete agreement; harmony (esp in the phrase in unison)
Derived Forms
unisonous, unisonal, unisonant, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin ūnisonus, from uni- + sonus sound


(in Britain) a trade union representing local government, health care, and other workers: formed in 1993 by the amalgamation of COHSE, NALGO, and NUPE
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for unison

1570s, from Middle French unisson "unison, accord of sound" (16c.), from Medieval Latin unisonus "having one sound, sounding the same," from Late Latin unisonius "in immediate sequence in the scale, monotonous," from Latin uni- "one" (see one) + sonus "sound" (see sound (n.1)). Sense of "harmonious agreement" is first attested 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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unison in Culture

unison definition

Playing or singing the same musical notes, or notes separated from each other by one or several octaves. Musicians who perform in unison are not playing or singing chords.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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