Context: My brother just played a video with loud screeching noises in the background about 5 feet from me as I was reading a pleasant book. I turned to chastise him, exclaiming,

"John! Turn that off! That sounds is so _______."

I couldn't find the proper word. Discordant, biting, harsh aren't quite right. Anyone have any suggestions?


It isn't an adjective, and it doesn't exactly fit into your example sentence, but what I immediately thought of was cacophony.


1 : harsh or jarring sound : DISSONANCE sense 2
specifically : harshness in the sound of words or phrases

2 : a mingling of sounds that strike the ear harshly : a mingling of discordant sounds
especially, music : a clashing or unresolved musical interval or chord

To paraphrase your sentence:

John! Turn off that cacophony!

As was mentioned in a comment, there is an adjectival form of this word:

John! Turn that off! That sound is so cacophonous.

  • 2
    Or that sound is so cacophonous. – alwayslearning Nov 10 '18 at 8:58
  • @jason Thanks for this reply! I considered it earlier, but dismissed it-offhand because I had imprecise definition on my mind. Thankfully, your post of the definition forced me to revisit it! – ReelName Nov 10 '18 at 14:06
  • @alwayslearning Yes! Thank you for pointing that out. – Jason Bassford Nov 10 '18 at 14:12


A grating sound is unpleasant and annoying.


Deafening is often used for loud, annoying sounds/noises:

extremely loud:

  • The music was deafening.

(Cambridge Dictionary)


An adjective I remember reading in this context is raucous.

"John! Turn that off! That sounds so raucous."


Making or constituting a disturbingly harsh and loud noise.

‘She threw the keys back and forth, causing them to fill the air with raucous noise.’

‘It stopped dead in the middle of the road with a raucous screech of the brakes.’

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