Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having a harsh, unpleasant sound; discordant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Containing, consisting of, or producing harsh, unpleasant or discordant sounds.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sounding harshly; ill-sounding; discordant: opposed to euphonious.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having an unpleasant sound

Etymologies

From Greek kakophōnos : kakos, bad; see kakka- in Indo-European roots + phōnē, sound; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek κακός (kakos, "bad") + φωνή (phonē, "voice"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • One cannot escape the feeling that, for these slim tales, appearance between these covers is a kind of cacophonous family reunion, where the relatives have long been far-flung across continents, and yet immediately have thousands of things to say.

    SFGate: Top News Stories

  • Some Singaporeans chimed in, asking 'how can Orchard Road be a world-class shopping haven and rival other major cities such as Tokyo when it is a free-for-all zone for anyone to hawk their stuff?', perhaps in reference to the "particularly irksome", "cacophonous" strains of buskers trying to make a living amidst the noise of nearby roadshows.

    The Online Citizen

  • We're also aware that the large crowds expected at the rallies could produce a cacophonous din, one in which you are unable to discern which jokes are being made by audience members, counter-protesters, or the day's main attractions — and, worse still, where observers may think you are laughing at an anti-Republican joke when you are actually laughing at an anti-Democrat joke.

    How to cover satirical political events - chuckle in a non-genuine manner

  • William Brice's work has been a low key yet persistent force in the increasingly cacophonous Los Angeles art landscape over the decades.

    ArtScene: Southern California's Top Ten Exhibition Picks for 2010

  • In light of this "curious case of the cacophonous snack pack," I find that many people see sustainability as a version of a Faustian dilemma; they often knowingly make choices that have immediate personal benefits, but in the long run are disastrous for all of us.

    Ron Ashkenas: Sustainability's Faustian Dilemma

  • Saracens expect a crowd of at least 45,000 for their match against Leinster at Wembley on Saturday, but what they would give for a home like Clermont's, which is filled regularly with a cacophonous, hostile horde dressed in blue and yellow.

    Saracens ambition hands Heineken Cup victory to Clermont Auvergne

  • But the commentary, he suggests, can be excessive: I liken it to a cacophonous symphony.

    Keith Jackson returns; Jenn Sterger joins new Versus show

  • And the pulpy letters page is no grand panacea; it is simply another small and humble patch of turf on which to remember what is good about geeked-out community that isn't as unwieldly and cacophonous as a San Diego Comic-Con floor.

    The Riff: Why DC Comics is right to bring back the letters columns of yore

  • Hacker: Perhaps it is more about "change" than "passing" -- there's often the first of something replacing the last of something: the Tunisian Jews opening kosher couscous restaurants; the homeless men setting up housekeeping under the bridge; the little act of courtesy of the café waiter confronted with a cacophonous traffic jam.

    Anis Shivani: Poetry As a Bridge Across Cultures: Anis Shivani Interviews Marilyn Hacker

  • Hacker: Perhaps it is more about "change" than "passing" -- there's often the first of something replacing the last of something: the Tunisian Jews opening kosher couscous restaurants; the homeless men setting up housekeeping under the bridge; the little act of courtesy of the café waiter confronted with a cacophonous traffic jam.

    Anis Shivani: Poetry As a Bridge Across Cultures: Anis Shivani Interviews Marilyn Hacker

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