Difference Between Chord and Cord

The pair of English words chord and cord are part of homophones.
People, especially non-native speakers, tend to perplex by these two words due to their identical pronunciation. However, both the nouns are very different in usage and meaning. We cannot flip-flop them in writing. Otherwise, the blunder will happen. Moreover, homophone words should be practiced by writing them in sentences instead of practicing verbally.

Chord vs Cord

The main difference between chord and cord is that the word chord means a group of two or three tones played together, and it also means a line segment whose two ends touch the arc of a circle. On the other hand, a cord is a thin and flexible string that consists of multiple thin strands.

Chord vs Cord

A word chord was borrowed from the French language in the sixteenth century. It is a noun and has multiple meanings in distinct contexts. The first meaning is associated with the musical field, and it means a mixture of two or three tones together. Chord means a line segment whose two ends touch the circle in a mathematical context.

A word cord is a noun and can be a verb too. It means thin and flexible string, which consists of numerous twisted strings. Moreover, cords are present in our human body. It also means to bind something up. Here it acted as a verb. The word cord has been borrowed from Greek words.

Comparison Table Between Chord and Cord

Parameters of ComparisonChordCord
DefinitionThe word chord means a mixture of musical nodes and line segments touching the circle from both ends.The word cord means strand, which consists of multiple twisted strands.
RootsThe word chord has been taken from the French language.The word cord is a Greek word.
Parts of SpeechThe word chord is a noun.The word cord is a noun and a verb.
The Trick to RememberThe group “ch” in the word chord is not a digraph, and the letter H is silent while pronouncing.Write the word cord as per the pronunciation.
ExampleDraw a chord inside a circle.My spinal cord is hurt.

What is Chord?

In the world of music and mathematics, the chord is a well-known term. In the 1590s, it was derived from a French word. It is a shorter version of the English term accord (agree with harmony). The expertise of English earlier spelled chord as cord.

However, it was later spelled differently to segregate this term from the mathematical word cord (a line lying inside the circle and touching it from the ends). The word chord was later spelled as a chord in maths as well.

Though spellings altered in musical and maths words, pronunciation remained the same. The added letter H is silent when the word chord is spoken while conversating with others. It is a noun in both fields.

It may appear perplexing at first glance, but when employed in writing, it becomes clear. The meaning of a chord is playing multiple tones at once in music. There are eight basic chords in the musical instruments (Guitar).

These chords are for creating relaxing musical tones. In maths, the longest chord is the diameter of the circle. Otherwise, there is a formula for calculating the length of the chord.

We can learn the usage of the word chord by understanding its role in a sentence.

For Example,

  1. Play the same chord for five notes
  2. Make a chord naming AB in a circle.

The word chord in the first sentence is associated with music, and in the second sentence, it has to do with maths.

What is Cord?

The word cord is a Greek word that came into existence in the fourteenth century. This word can be a noun and a verb in distinct contexts. It refers to a very fine strand or rope that is weaved together from several strings.

The cord can be vocal, spinal cord, electrical cord, the wire that is attached to the parachute for safety is also a cord. Moreover, the strand that connects the fetus to the pregnant woman is also a cord (umbilical cord).

The synonyms of the word cord can be rope, string, a cable. Its purpose is for tieing or connecting something. The cord is also associated with anatomical structure. It’s also known as a flex because it powers electrical devices.

When we add the suffix (ed) at the end of the cord, it becomes a verb corded. Its meaning is tieing or binding something. Its usage is distinct from the noun cord. The trick to remember its spelling is to spell as per its sound.

We can use the word cord in different sentences to represent distinct scenarios.

For Examples,

  1. My vocal cord is hurt.
  2. The cords attached to the parachute must be tied properly to people to provide safety.
  3. The newspapers are corded with a cord.

In the first two sentences, the word cord is a noun. In the third sentence, corded (Cord +ed) acts as a verb.

Main Differences Between Chord and Cord

  1. The word chord consists of five letters, and the letter H is silent while speaking. On the other hand, the word cord consists of four letters.
  2. The word chord is a well-known word in the musical and mathematical world. On the other side, the term “cord” is used in medical science and for safety reasons.
  3. The word chord means chord of a circle or chord of notes. On the contrary, the word cord means a rope or a string.
  4. The word chord is a noun, and the word cord can be employed as two parts of speech (noun and verb).
  5. The word chord is a French term. However, the word cord is from Greek.


A homophone is an intriguing and confusing topic of the English language. It is a combination of two words. It is a topic that must be comprehended in writing rather than in a spoken context. Chord and cord are two different phrases that are similar in sound and subtlety distinct in spellings.

As a result, both words must be used appropriately in written form without being interchanged to avoid mistakes. Otherwise, the whole meaning of the text changes and conveys the wrong message. One must be aware of the connotation of both words before using them anywhere.


  1. https://www.logobook.kz/af/11210863/2247/0199296251_sample.pdf
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/842157
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