Think of dishes being smashed, or a frying pan being dropped on ceramic tiles. The words that come to mind describing these events are cacophonous. Smash! Clink! A cacophony is a group of harsh sounding words used to evoke feelings of annoyance or rage. Think babies crying… Whaaaa! Think cars stuck in traffic… Honk-Honk!

The word cacophony comes from the Latinized Greek word kakaphonos meaning ‘harsh sound’. It is the opposite of euphony and creates discord rather than harmony. We use it to mimic the subject being written as the words evoke meaning into the imagery being described.

To best use this technique pack a lot of explosive consonants in to a line or verse. Explosive consonants are percussive and have a ‘pop’ or a ‘release’ associated with them. Think the child’s candy Pop Rocks… They literally explode in your mouth creating a pleasant discordant feeling. Use consonants like B, D, K, P, T, G, C, Q, and T as the key ingredients to making a cacophony.

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