Word of the Day Archive
Sunday September 26, 2004
1. Harsh or discordant sound; dissonance.
2. The use of harsh or discordant sounds in literary composition.
New York was then a cacophony of sounds -- a dozen accents ricocheting off surrounding buildings as immigrant mothers called their children home for supper, noon whistles blowing, vendors hawking their wares on the streets, children shouting, horses whinnying, and people yelling.
-- Herbert G. Goldman, Banjo Eyes
The mammoth central station towered over the platforms, and with the cacophony from whooshing steam, shrill whistles, shouts and the heaving of hand and horse carts, not only was it the biggest, noisiest, most confusing experience any of them had ever encountered, but the city was almost unimaginable.
-- Christopher Ogden, Legacy: A Biography of Moses and Walter Annenberg
Cacophony comes from Greek kakophonia, from kakophonos, from kakos, "bad" + phone, "sound." The adjective form is cacophonous. The opposite of cacophony is euphony.