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Chord vs. Cord

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips

English homophones are some of the most difficult words to differentiate from one another. Even if you use a word on a regular basis in speech, you might not know how to spell it with the meaning you are thinking. That’s what makes homophones tricky. They sound exactly alike, but they are spelled differently and have different meanings. You might use the word cord all the time, but when you go to write it, you’re not sure if you should use cord or chord.

No worries. I’m here to help. In this post, I want to discuss the differences between cord and chord. I will cover their definitions and their functions in a sentence. Plus, I will show you a trick to remember the difference between both words. After reading this post, you shouldn’t have any trouble with cord vs. chord again.


The word chord originated from Middle English cord, from accord. The spelling change in the 18th century was due to confusion with chord2. The original sense was ‘agreement, reconciliation’, later ‘a musical concord or harmonious sound’; the current sense dates from the mid-18th century. Cord originated from Middle English: from Old French corde, from Latin chorda, from Greek khordē ‘gut, string of a musical instrument’.

Chord as noun:

Chord is a noun which means a group of (typically three or more) notes sounded together, as a basis of harmony.

The triumphal opening chords.

Chord as verb:

Chord is used as a verb which means to play, sing, or arrange notes in chords.

His chording makes an exhilarating accompaniment to the melody.

Cord as noun:

Cord is used as a noun which means thin, flexible string or rope made from several twisted strands.

Her feet were tied with cord.

Cord as verb:

Cord is used as a verb which means to attach a cord to.

A corded curtain track.


A damaged extension cord caused a massive fire Sunday afternoon that destroyed Points West Sales and Leisure Sports. [PA Herald]

Rather he deploys it to float a perfectly weighted melody against a broken-chord accompaniment as unruffled and beautiful as a blue lagoon. [This is London]

It takes one cord of wood or 60 gallons of oil to boil 800 gallons of syrup. [Post-Gazette]

He calls the final chord of” A Day in the Life,” from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” in a typical aside, “the greatest E major chord in the history of Western music.” [New York Times]

Cord or chord:

Although they have a long, strange history, chord vs. cord words have different meanings and different uses. Cord refers to a rope. Chord refers to musical notes and has specialized meanings in mathematics.

Still not sure you will be able to remember when to use chord or cord? Here’s an easy trick to remember the difference. You can remember that chord deals with musical notes that are in harmony. Harmony and chord both have an “H” in them. Cord refers to a rope, both of which are four letter words.

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