Chord or Cord?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Chord" and "Cord"?

"Chord" and "cord" are easy to confuse because they sound identical.
  • "Chord" is 3 or more music notes sounded together. For example:
    • What are the easiest chords to play on a guitar?
  • "Cord" is a rope, bond, or electrical cable. Cord is also used to describe 128 cubic feet of wood (usually firewood). For example:
    • Be careful not to tangle the phone cord.
    • There are two cords of firewood on the truck.
chord or cord?

Chord

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.

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

Cord

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

Example sentences with "cord":
  • I invented the cordless extension cord. (Comedian Steven Wright)
  • My guitars are my umbilical cord. They're directly wired into my head. (Musician Kirk Hammett)
  • (It is unusual to see the word "guitar" and "cord" in the same sentence. It's usually "chord.")
In the US, the term "cord" is used to describe 128 cubic feet of firewood or pulpwood. The wood must be "racked and well stowed" to occupy 128 cubic feet.
cord of wood

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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? List of easily confused words

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