Chord or Cord?

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?


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. correct tick (Musician Lou Reed)
  • I love the chord sequences in classical music. I often use that sort of effect in my solos. correct tick (Composer Jon Lord)


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. correct tick (Comedian Steven Wright)
  • My guitars are my umbilical cord. They're directly wired into my head. correct tick (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
author logo

This page was written by Craig Shrives.