- The general state of agreement or coherence
- A formal agreement; a decision between groups to cohere to one side, opinion, etc.
- (Grammar) Continuity between word forms (as in gender, number, etc.)
Fun fact: there are a whopping 26 towns in the United States named Concord, including the state capital of New Hampshire. Why is this such a popular name? It probably has something to do with the fact that the word concord is often associated with a picture of bright, idealistically peaceful interactions (this goes all the way back to the founding of Concord Massachusetts in 1635, when the name was chosen to reflect the particularly amicable negotiations by which European settlers acquired the land from Native Americans). For many, the term conjures images of merry townsfolk coming together at town hall meetings, where they reach perfect agreement over things like the school budget and the route of the Memorial Day parade. Concord usually indicates a state of tranquil unity (it's even used as a synonym for harmony), making it the perfect word to characterize 26 American towns as being full of cooperative citizens.
Concord most commonly describes the condition of being in agreement or unity. Like a silent pack of wolves on the hunt or the Wonder Twins, multiple parties are said to be in concord when they are not just like-minded but of one mind. Such a state implies complete harmony, a sense that the participants are working seamlessly together toward the same goals. Those who are in concord with one another complement each other like peanut butter and jelly, functioning without discord to create a stronger whole.
Along these same lines, concord can also refer to a formal, recognized agreement between parties. Often taking the form of a physical object like a treaty, this kind of concord indicates that participants have taken a common stance according to specifications that all understand and adhere to. For instance, two nations could draft a concord wherein they both agree to commit certain funds to fight global warming; on a more familiar scale, you and your uncle might come to a concord over how to split the last slice of pie at Thanksgiving dinner. In this case, it is important to note that a concord signifies just an agreement and not necessarily the truly held feelings and positions of the people coming to terms with each other. It could be simple to come to such a compact if each side readily shares the same opinion, but this use of concord might just as easily indicate a compromise that was only made because it was the option that was least offensive to everyone involved.
Finally, concord has several technical, field-specific applications. One of the most useful of these is in grammar: words in a phrase are said to be in concord when their forms are in agreement across all categories. These categories include number, gender, point of view, and any other conditions that influence the form a word takes. For example, the phrase "she run there" is not in concord because "she" is singular while the verb form "run" indicates a plurality. Concord is also used in music to describe a grouping of tones that results in a complete, pleasing sound.
Example: The two basketball players were in such concord that they seemed able to anticipate each other's movements across the court.
Example: One of the most famous concords in history is the armistice signed by Germany and the Allies in 1918 to end the fighting of World War I on the Western Front.
Example: Both the scriptwriter and her editor were in concord in seeing that the line "They likes to does grammars" did not, in fact, possess grammatical concord.
One way to understand the meaning of concord is to look at the word's Latin roots. In Latin, the prefix com (meaning "joint" or "together") combines with the suffix cor (literally, "heart," or, more figuratively, "spirit") to contribute to the phrase concordia, which means "congruence" or "agreement." This would evolve into the Old French noun concorde, which meant "unity" or "accord." Concorde is the closest relative to the English concord, the first use of which is attributed to the early fourteenth century.
Concordance: This noun usually refers to a state of harmony and congruence. Concordance can also refer to an index that lists the most important words in a text and briefly references how they are used.
Example: After what seemed like hours of serious negotiation, the brother and sister finally came to concordance over which Saturday morning cartoons they would watch.
Example: Unsure which chapter held the information I was after, I checked the textbook's concordance for guidance.
Concordant: This adjective describes things as being in agreement or as having consistency.
Example: Although which cartoons to watch was frequently an issue of contention, the siblings were always concordant in feeling that heaping bowls of Marshmallow-Munchy cereal were a mandatory component of their Saturday mornings.
Concordantly: This adverb characterizes an action as being the result of like-minded thinking.
Example: Every Saturday morning without fail, the brother and sister would concordantly hop on the couch together, ready to indulge in a couple of hours of cartoon shenanigans.
Concord is very similar in both spelling and meaning to the word accord. The latter is used not only as a noun to describe conditions of like-mindedness or harmony but also as a verb that refers to the act of making things agree. Although accord has a somewhat wider range of meanings than concord, they both usually indicate a sense of agreement; you might say that these two words are in concord!
From Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre:
To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character--perfect concord is the result.
Here the narrator uses concord to explain that, because she and her husband are so in-sync, they have achieved matrimonial harmony.
- Agreement is at the core of concord
- Things in concord are bound together, as with a cord
- To have concord is to concur
Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of concord. Did you use concord in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.