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Alternative forms[edit]


Variant of cord, with spelling alteration due to Latin chorda (cord), ultimately from Ancient Greek χορδή (khordḗ, string of gut, the string of a lyre)



chord (plural chords)

  1. (music) A harmonic set of three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously.
    • 1956, Delano Ames, chapter 14, in Crime out of Mind[1]:
      He struck the opening chords of the passage; but this time Irene's voice was silent. Victor stopped in the middle of an arpeggio.
  2. (geometry) A line segment between two points of a curve.
    • 1941 September, “The Why and the Wherefore: Curves”, in Railway Magazine, page 430:
      The simplest method of calculating the radius of a curve in situ is to measure the versine; in railway practice this is done by extending a tape 66 ft. (1 ch.) long in a straight line or chord between two points on the periphery of a curve, and then measuring the maximum distance of the rail from the chord at the centre of the 66 ft. The radius in chains is found by dividing the versine in inches into 99. Thus if a versine measures 3 in., the radius will be 33 ch.
  3. (engineering) A horizontal member of a truss.
    1. (rail transport) A section of subsidiary railway track that interconnects two primary tracks that cross at different levels, to permit traffic to flow between them.
  4. (aeronautics) The distance between the leading and trailing edge of a wing, measured in the direction of the normal airflow.
  5. (nautical) An imaginary line from the luff of a sail to its leech.
  6. (computing) A keyboard shortcut that involves two or more distinct keypresses, such as Ctrl+M followed by P.
    • 2005, James Avery, Visual Studio hacks, page 99:
      Ctrl-K is the default first key for chords, but you can create chords using any keys that you want.
  7. The string of a musical instrument.
    • 1667, John Milton, “(please specify the book number)”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC:
      Instruments that made melodious Chime
      Was heard, of Harp and Organ; and who mov'd
      Their Stops and Chords was seen
  8. (anatomy) A cord.
  9. (graph theory) An edge that is not part of a cycle but connects two vertices of the cycle.

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chord (third-person singular simple present chords, present participle chording, simple past and past participle chorded)

  1. (transitive) To write chords for.
    • 2003, Dan Levenson, Clawhammer Banjo from Scratch:
      This chording technique works well for learning any tune, but this is the only tune of the set that I will write out completely as a chorded version.
  2. (music) To accord; to harmonize together.
    This note chords with that one.
  3. (transitive) To provide with musical chords or strings; to string; to tune.
    • 1687, John Dryden, A Song for Cecilia's Day:
      When Jubal struck the chorded shell.
    • 1862, Henry Ward Beecher, Eyes and Ears:
      Even the solitary old pine tree chords his harp.


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