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[puh-lif-uh-nee] /pəˈlɪf ə ni/

Music. polyphonic composition; counterpoint.
Phonetics. representation of different sounds by the same letter or symbol.
noun (pl) -nies
polyphonic style of composition or a piece of music utilizing it
the use of polyphones in a writing system

1828, “multiplicity of sounds,” from Greek polyphonia “variety of sounds,” from polyphonos “having many sounds or voices,” from polys “many” (see poly-) + phone “voice, sound” (see fame (n.)). The meaning “counterpoint” (1864) is perhaps a back-formation from the adjective.


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