Chord or Cord?

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
What is the difference between chord and cord?

Chord is 3 or more music notes sounded together.
  • I can play three chords on a guitar.
Cord is a rope, bond, or electrical cable.
  • Be careful not to tangle the phone cord.


The noun chord is a musical term that denotes a group of three or more notes sounded together. It is also used in geometry to denote a geometric line segment in a circle.

  • One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz. (Lou Reed)
  • I love the chord sequences in classical music. I often use that sort of effect in my solos. (Jon Lord)


The noun cord refers to an electrical cable, a rope, or an anatomical structure (e.g., spinal cord, vocal cord).

  • I invented the cordless extension cord. (Steven Wright)
  • My guitars are my umbilical cord. They're directly wired into my head. (Kirk Hammett)
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? Ms., Miss, or Mrs? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? cannot or can not? who's or whose? What are nouns? List of easily confused words