Have you ever been so bombarded with noise around you that you couldn't think?
You've experienced a "cacophony" of sound.
Dictionary.com specifically describes the word as a "harsh discordance of sound... a discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds."
Musically, the definition goes further, to say that the discords make it hard to understand the sounds' relationship with one another.
The Online Etymology Dictionary cites the word's origin in the 1650s from the Greek kakophonia, from "kakophonos" - phonos referring to vocal sound, and kakos meaning bad or evil.
While not specifically evil, you may have heard of an audience's reaction, whether it be laughter, cheering, or booing, described as a cacophony.
Indeed, the sounds in a cacophony could also be used to describe a pleasant scene - imagine the hooting of an owl combined with wind rustling leaves and the chirping of crickets. You could say the cacophony of forest sounds are quite comforting.
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