He gently lifted his electric guitar and connected its amplifying cord to the speaker. His fingers positioned themselves on the fret board as he struck a single chord that buzzed throughout the whole room.

The words ‘chord’ and ‘cord’ are potentially one of the trickiest homophones you’ll find in the dictionary. This is not merely because they sound exactly alike but also because their etymologies are more confusing than remembering the digits of pi. ‘Cord’ arose from Latin and borrowed from ancient Greek ‘chorda’. ‘Chorda’ was used for any physical object that was wire-like and produced tension when pulled including catgut, strings, and even intestines. Thus the modern cord is used for any slender object that is flexible and rope-like in nature. On the contrary, a ‘chord’ is a musical term. Interestingly, as complicating as this may be, ‘chord’ is derived from 14th-century‘ cord’, descending from ‘accord’ meaning ‘agreement or union of opinions’. Therefore, harmony or union of musical notes played at the same time is called a ‘chord’.

If you’re with us so far, you’ll make it to the end. Keep reading and you’ll get the hang of it!

Chord vs cord – definitions, uses and example sentences

Definition of chord

The word ‘chord’ is pronounced as “kawd”. It is used as both a noun and a verb in both written and spoken English. As a noun, the word under discussion has several meanings in the contexts of music, engineering, geometry, computing, and mathematics. However, the most relevant meaning of ‘chord’ concerns music. It is defined as a consonant sound of 2 or more specified notes played nearly simultaneously to compose a melody. Almost all widely known musical instruments are played in chords. As a verb, joining, sorting, or singing multiple notes together in a chord is referred to as ‘chording’. The present participle of the verb form is ‘chording’ while ‘chorded’ is used for the past and past participle. 

Example sentences of chord

  • After 3 months of rigorous practice, I finally know how to play all minor and major chords.

Here, ‘chord’ is used as a noun in the commonest context of music. Minor and major chords are two of many categories of chords are sorted based on the number of harmonic notes.

  • Feminism and the #metoo movement struck a chord with many young women around the globe.

‘Strike a chord’ is a famous idiom that means to be moved or inspired by something in a positive way. ‘Chord’ is also used here as a noun, albeit part of an idiom.

  • His hands were seamlessly chording a melody that emanated from the guitar’s sound hole.

Here, the present participle of the verb form of ‘chord’ is used to mean ‘stringing together notes’ for the object ‘melody’.

Definition of cord

Unsurprisingly, the word ‘cord’ is also pronounced as ‘kawd’. It is also used as both a noun and a verb, but with relatively little variety in meanings. The noun ‘cord’, plural cords, is defined as any thin, flexible object, electrical or otherwise, of rope-like nature with a proportionately larger length typically composed of fibers, strands, or similar material. The word has also found use in anatomy as any tissue or structure appearing like a cord; for instance, vocal cords and tendinous cords. Synonyms of the noun ‘cord’ include ‘cable’ and ‘string’. As a verb, ‘to cord’ means to employ or use a cord for the purpose of furnishing, tying, binding, or connecting. The present participle of ‘cord’ is ‘cording’ and the past and past participle are ‘corded’

Example sentences of cord

  • The shopkeeper told the police that the wanted man had, in fact, bought an extension cord from him.

In the above mentioned sentence, ‘cord’ is used as a noun referring to a long conducting cable used for the purpose of electrical extension and sold as a commodity.

  • The surgeon cut the umbilical cord soon after the baby was delivered.

Here, the noun ‘cord’ is used as part of the compound noun ‘umbilical cord.’ The umbilical cord is another example of a cord which is made up of living cells. Therefore, any object possessing structural integrity and behaving like a cord can be safely referred to as one.

  • You need to get this book corded or else the pages will fall out.

Here, ‘cord’ is used in the verb form. ‘To cord’ something means to bind, connect or furnish something with a cord; for example, a book or a diary.


‘Chord’ and ‘chord’ are homophones and used as both nouns and verbs. Both words carry diverse meanings across different contexts. In common use, ‘chord’ refers to a set of melodious notes struck together and played or sung simultaneously to generate a musical sound. It is the fundamental unit of a melody. A cord, on the other hand, refers to a long and bendable rope-like object or anatomical structure. To distinguish between the two, remember that ‘chord’ has an ‘h’ in it; link this with ‘harmony’ so you remember it concerns music. For cord, remember any of the human structures like the umbilical or vocal cords to remember that a cord represents a long, flexible structure.