SKIP TO CONTENT

chord

In music, a chord is three or more notes that combine harmoniously. You can play chords on a piano or guitar, but not on an instrument that plays one note at a time, like a trumpet.

Chord comes from the French word for agreement, accord, so in music it means sounds that go together, or agree with each other. You can also use chord figuratively. If a book "strikes a chord" with you, you feel connected to it. In math, a chord is the straight line that connects two points on a curve.

Definitions of chord
  1. noun
    a combination of three or more notes that blend harmoniously when sounded together
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    arpeggio
    a chord whose notes are played in rapid succession rather than simultaneously
    sforzando
    an accented chord
    common chord, triad
    a three-note major or minor chord; a note and its third and fifth tones
    seventh chord
    a triad with a seventh added
    type of:
    musical note, note, tone
    a notation representing the pitch and duration of a musical sound
  2. verb
    play chords on (a string instrument)
    see moresee less
    type of:
    play
    perform music on (a musical instrument)
  3. verb
    bring into consonance, harmony, or accord while making music or singing
    synonyms: harmonise, harmonize
    see moresee less
    types:
    key
    regulate the musical pitch of
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  4. noun
    a straight line connecting two points on a curve
    see moresee less
    type of:
    straight line
    a line traced by a point traveling in a constant direction; a line of zero curvature
Commonly confused words

chord / cord

Chord and cord sound the same, but a chord is three or more notes played together while a cord is basically a thick string. You strum a chord, but you tie a cord.

Continue reading...

Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week